Back-to-school shopping can be stressful and tough for many folks, especially with supply lists being extensive and expensive.
Thankfully, there is a program that can help alleviate some of the stresses of a new school year for families in Swift Current.
The Salvation Army Swift Current is once again partnered with Staples for their annual Back-to-School School Supply Program, which gives free backpacks stocked with learning necessities to low-income households.
Renee Mailman, an officer with the organization, explained that this is a way for every student to start the year off on the right foot, regardless of what they can afford.
“Our goal is for every child to get a backpack and some essentials (such as pens, pencils, crayons, markers), to the best of our ability,” she said.
Supplies come to them in many different ways: some families purchase extras when doing their own shopping and drop them off at the food bank, others bring cash or cheques.
Mailman added that there are also corporate sponsors that will send funds, and Staples offers an option to donate cash at their registers which provides in-store value for the non-profit organization.
In the case of monetary gifts, they send some of their staff and volunteers to purchase the supplies.
September isn’t the only time of year that these kinds of contributions are needed, however, and donations are valued and appreciated at any time.
The Salvation Army Swift Current has had parents in all situations from leaving abusive households with none of their belongings, to just moving into the community with nothing to start the school year, going to them in search of supplies for their kids.
“Sometimes we don't always like to see the need within our community,” Mailman said. “The reality is that there are people who are struggling, living paycheck-to-paycheck, and things like having to buy school supplies is that little bit too much.”
Applications for the program closed earlier in the week, with at least 260 children having applied.
According to Mailman, they have enough school supplies for every kid that signed up, but are still looking for backpacks.
“It does make a difference in our community and the lives of children to be able to start the school year well,” she concluded. “We're just thankful for everyone who has donated or participated in any way to make this happen.”
Anyone that is interested in volunteering or donating can visit the Food Bank on 1st Avenue Northwest.