It may only be the beginning of summer, but Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank already has its eyes on September.
The non-profit, located in north-end Halifax, has launched its Back-To-School program, with hopes of providing a backpack and school supplies to as many low- and fixed-income students by the start of the school year.
“It’s one of our biggest annual programs,” said Amgad Zaky, a spokesperson for Parker Street Food Bank. “We’re here to help and support in every way we can.”
Last year, Parker Street provided backpacks and school supplies to 743 students. This year, it’s expecting the demand to be much higher — somewhere in the area of 1,000 to 1,200 students.
“Schools are going to be resuming and there’s going to be more families coming to us and seeking help,” Zaky said. “We’re anticipating an increase in requests for this school year, so we are looking for help and support.”
And that help and support can come in many forms. Zaky said anyone with extra school supplies, such as backpacks, notebooks, calculators, pens and pencils, can drop them off at the Parker Street Food Bank location on Maynard Street, or at either one of the Great Things in Store locations on Herring Cove Road and Dartmouth.
The organization is accepting monetary donations, as well.
“We have a list of supplies available online, so people can check it out and know exactly what kind of support and what kind of supplies we’re looking for for this year,” Zaky said. Visit parkerstreet.org for more information.
The program launched on July 5 and donations will be accepted until Aug. 13. The fully packed backpacks will then be handed out to students at the Halifax Forum, Aug. 26-27, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Zaky said the program relies on donations from volunteers and sponsors in order to achieve the ultimate goal of helping those in need by lessening some of the burden of going back to school.
“We want to be ready,” Zaky said.
“We want to help the kids in our community to make it to school and to be able to have all the supplies that they need to make it through the school year.”