United Way’s Backpacks for Kids kicks off this summer

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NEW GLASGOW – Back to school may look different this year but one thing’s for sure: students will still need the right tools to succeed.

That is why the United Way of Pictou County is launching a Backpacks for Kids program – to assist Pictou  County’s students with supplies they need to start their school year off on the right foot.

The aim of the program is to provide free backpacks and supplies to children in Pictou County living in low-income situations, with the intention of making starting the September 2020 school year as barrier- free as possible. The backpacks will be confidentially distributed to previously identified students in mid- August.

“In Pictou County, 22 per cent of children and youth aged 5-19 are living in low-income situations,” says Ellen Fanning, United Way of Pictou County’s executive director. “Our target is to assist 200 children with support to ready themselves for school beginning in September.”

The Kinsmen Club of New Glasgow has recently donated $1,000 to the program to help with the purchase of school supplies.

“As the costs associated with school supplies are removed,” says Scott McKenzie of the Kinsmen, “low-income families and those living in poverty are able to allocate more funds to food security, shelter, transportation, medicine, and more.”

The Backpacks for Kids program is also supported in part through the Emergency Community Support Fund funded by the Government of Canada.

Those wishing to donate supplies can do so at any of the pop-up drives taking place around Pictou County this summer. The dates and locations of these drives are:

Stellarton Town Square, 246 Foord St., Stellarton

Saturday, July 18, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Trenton Station (located across from town hall), Main St., Trenton

Saturday, July 25, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Municipality of Pictou County Office, 46 Municipal Dr., Pictou  

Friday, July 31, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Glasgow Square Theatre, 155 Riverside Pkwy., New Glasgow  

Saturday, August 1, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Westville Town Hall, 2042 Queen St., Westville  

Saturday, August 8, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Pictou Market Square, Water St., Pictou

Saturday, August 15, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Suggested items for donation include pencils, pens, binders, loose leaf, coloured pencils, and scribblers. When dropping off supplies, physical distancing protocols must be followed.

For more information of the program, contact Ally MacKenzie at the United Way office at 902-755-1754 or at projects@pictoucountyunitedway.ca. More information can also be found on the United Way of Pictou County Facebook page.