As students begin setting their sights on the beginning of a new academic year, the United Way of Fort McMurray has launched its annual Tools for School program. Running through August, this fundraising and school-equipment-raising effort helps over 500 children who are in circumstances where buying necessary school supplies is difficult or just not possible.
“One of the pillars of the United Way is All That Kids Can Be,” said Diane Shannon, Executive Director. “This program ensures that all students start the year with all the pencils, pens and notebooks that they need to reach their potential. Unfortunately, there are families in our community that are not in a position to make these purchases. Through the generosity of our partners and the citizens who contribute each year, we are able to fill the gap.”
There are a number of ways for people to help. Cash donations are being accepted at Staples and Boston Pizza. Additionally, you can purchase supplies and drop them in a bin located at Staples and at the Peter Pond Mall.
Staples is also planning a fundraising barbecue on August 16th and 17th to draw attention to the Tools For School campaign and raise even more funds.
“This is an important initiative for us,” said Raissa Smith, Services Manager, Staples. “Each Staples location, in partnership with one or more local registered charities and schools, invites donations at point of sale where 100 percent of the proceeds or supplies collected will be directed to schools, classes and persons who most need assistance.”
“Every little bit helps,” said Shannon. “United Way is committed to this program. Our staff and volunteers will gather all the necessary supplies, sort them into grade appropriate packages, and then distribute them in a confidential way to students in need with assistance from the school division offices. We also get additional referrals from some of our member agencies. ”
Suggested items for the drop off bin include pens, paper, glue sticks, duo tangs, markers, calculators, geometry sets, colouring pencils, crayons and binders.