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Packing for success

Bell Aliant Backpacks for Kids

Eleven-year-old Cameron Sampson hoisted a black knapsack over his shoulders, and a grin spread across his face. His mother had already warned him that he couldn’t use any of the new crayons, markers, or colored pencils until his first day in Grade 6, weeks away, but he smiled anyways.

Thirteen years ago a group of Bell Aliant Pioneers (volunteers from both the employee and retirement pools) started a school supply drive to help families in need provide their kids with back-to-school necessities. Getting everything on the supply list isn’t easy for a lot of parents, and not having everything you need is hard on a kid starting school.

This means a pencil case, crayons, pencils, markers, glue, erasers, a ruler, scribblers, loose-leaf paper, other items, and of course, a backpack—all vetted with the help of teachers. When bought in bulk, Bell Aliant has gotten the cost down to $27 a bundle.

Research has shown that kids who start their year with confidence perform better. “It’s important because it allows kids to fit in with their peers. The backpacks give them an equal footing,” said Nick Jennery, executive director of Feed Nova Scotia. Feed Nova Scotia partnered with Bell Aliant in August to distribute 2,000 backpacks through their food bank contacts across the province.

So when Bell Aliant, a client of ours, approached us for a donation, we chipped in to help fill those backpacks. Since 2003 this program has delivered more than 50,000 kits—but this year they set a bigger goal.

Their goal was to outfit 10,000 Atlantic Canadian students before the first day of school. So how’d they do?

They surpassed their goal and delivered 10,324 backpacks to kids in need.

School may have already started, but any donations are always helpful. If you’d like to fill a backpack, you can visit their website.

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