Back to school is supposed to be an exciting time, but for some, the financial strain that comes with it can be stressful.
Tools for School by United Way has been around for more than 30 years in the Edmonton area.
Each year they deliver anywhere from 12 to 15,000 backpacks filled with school supplies for kindergarten to Grade 12 students not just in the city, but in the small towns and rural communities surrounding Edmonton.
This year, however, the United Way say they’re running short on supplies.
Suzi Medhurst is the program lead with Tools for School. She said currently, the organization has enough supplies to fill 10,000 backpacks. But that’s still 5,000 short of what they hope to have to help fulfill the needs of students across the city.
“Numbers are through the roof this year, and every day they seem to be growing. Right now we have approximately a 5,000 backpack gap,” Medhurst said.
“We are in desperate need of supplies.”
Maureen Matthews is the principal at Norwood School and says these donations are crucial for families who maybe can’t afford the supplies necessary for their children.
“It’s a huge barrier to our families, and I think this year in particular,” said Matthews.
“We are coming out of a pandemic, the cost of living is increasing. Whether it’s gas or groceries or even just back to school. Back to school is expensive.”
New backpacks, highlighters, erasers and glue sticks are what’s needed most. Matthews said these are all items to help students learn and feel confident at school.
“When we can say to students, ‘It’s ok, you’ve got one less thing to worry about,'” Matthews said with a smile. “They can look around at their peers and say, ‘I’m just like everyone else.'”