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Edmonton families in need get boost before heading back to school

Click to play video 'Can Man Dan Foundation' Can Man Dan Foundation
WATCH ABOVE: With most Edmonton-area students heading back to school on Tuesday, some parents are digging deep into pockets. As Julia Wong reports, some families got help from an annual event. – Sep 1, 2019

Edmonton-area families in need received much-needed help before the first day of school.

On Sunday, local anti-poverty activist Dan Johnstone, also known as Can Man Dan, hosted the seventh annual Back to School campaign.

Hundreds of people lined for hours at the event to pick up food hampers, backpacks filled with school supplies and even receive haircuts for the start of the school year.

“This is an event for the community by the community,” Johnstone said. “Everything you see here has been donated by somebody, somewhere.”

READ MORE: Edmonton families line up for free school supplies, haircuts as kids return to class

Tammy LaRose is a mother of five who attended the event with her family, along with three nieces and nephews.

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“It’s hard sometimes just to get backpacks for them, or school supplies, or even just cereal in the morning, [so] it helps out a lot,” LaRose said.

READ MORE: How much these Canadians spent on back-to-school shopping

Organizers said the event grows every year.

“Seeing the lineups, it’s kind of a bittersweet thing because I don’t want these people to be in the position they’re in, but also I’m glad we’re here to assist them,” Johnstone said.

“Obviously, these people need help and I’m glad we can be here to give them a little bit of support to better themselves.”

The help is much appreciated for parents like Larose.

“I’m so grateful for them to put this on.”

READ MORE: Can Man Dan collects thousands of pounds in donations for Edmonton Food Bank

The event also served as an unveiling of the Can Man Dan Foundation. Johstone said the foundation will make a little easier for him to do what he loves.

“This is going to give me a better way to help build up my community, my city and it’s really exciting,” Johnstone said.

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“Everybody likes something that’s a like official and now we can say that we’re official.”

WATCH (Aug. 19, 2019): “We’re Here For Ya Day” collects back-to-school supplies

Click to play video '‘We’re Here For Ya Day’ collects back to school supplies' ‘We’re Here For Ya Day’ collects back to school supplies
‘We’re Here For Ya Day’ collects back to school supplies – Aug 19, 2019