Backpacks and school supplies for children in need

Thanks to the hard work of many dedicated volunteers, along with City Councillors and Mayor Jim Watson, over 2,000 backpacks were prepared to support children in need at an annual Caring and Sharing Exchange event on August 22.

A team of-volunteers from service coordination for people with developmental disabilities pose with Mayor Jim Watson.
A team of volunteers pose with Mayor Jim Watson.

The event took place at Westgate Shopping Centre to support the Exchange’s Sharing in Student Success (SISS) program, which has been providing backpacks filled with grade-appropriate school supplies to thousands of children across the city every year since 2011.

The program has seen tremendous growth over the last two years, and while demand for SISS is increasing, the Exchange is determined to meet the need year after year.

“We have been very fortunate to have received so much support from individuals as well as many businesses in the community,” says Cindy Smith, Executive Director of the Caring and Sharing Exchange. “Many of our corporate partners as well as Tips for Cops held their own fundraisers to help us meet the growing need for back-to-school support.”

With the beginning of school just days away, the Exchange is seeking support from the community to help eliminate their waiting list for the fourth year in a row.

“While we saw a substantial 31% increase in registration last year for SISS, we received an outpouring of love and support from the community that helped us assist all 2,065 children registered,” says Cindy. “This year, we hope to help the 2,516 children that have registered for support. We still have about 230 children on our wait-list that are waiting for school supplies.”

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