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Waterloo Regional Police look to help kids in need with annual backpack challenge

Waterloo police Chief Bryan Larkin with a couple of the more than 1,400 backpacks that were donated.
Waterloo police Chief Bryan Larkin with a couple of the more than 1,400 backpacks that were donated. @wrpstoday / twitter

With kids officially headed back to school, Waterloo Regional Police have launched their annual backpack challenge.

Chief Bryan Larkin said in a statement that “2020 is a year like no other.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things, but what hasn’t changed is that people are still in need in our community,” he said.

Read more: Music, gym and COVID-19 — How non-core classes will operate in Ontario schools

The premise of the challenge is for local residents and businesses to purchase new backpacks, lunch bags, school supplies or gift cards to help kids’ return to school feel more special. This year, police are also looking for face masks as well.

Over the first two years of the challenge, residents and businesses have donated almost 2,500 backpacks, as well as thousands of dollars in gift cards and school supplies.

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These have been passed along to local organizations to distribute to needy kids in the area.

Read more: Initials plans for back to school released by Waterloo school board

“We want to do our part to ensure every child in Waterloo Region goes back to school feeling confident, excited, and proud,” Larkin said.

Police will be accepting donations until Aug. 21 at any of the police divisions throughout the region.