Help Us Fill Kids' Backpacks For September

MEDIA RELEASE


(August 12, 2021 - PORT COLBORNE) With the start of the school year right around the corner, Port Cares is providing support to local children and families in-need through its annual Back to School Backpack Program, in partnership with Canadian Tire Bank’s Snacks n’ Sneakers program.

“For a family with limited household income, back to school support programs like ours provide a means to start off the study year with dignity,” explains Christine Clark Lafleur, Executive Director, Port Cares.



“We’re grateful to our community members, groups and partners who come together each year to respond to the needs of local school children and support this program with supplies of backpacks, binders, pencil crayons, mathsets, markers, etc. We couldn’t do it without the community’s help.”


“Additionally, through our partnership with and the generous support of Canadian Tire Bank, we’ll be able to supply many children with a brand new pair of running shoes through their Snacks n’ Sneakers program,” says Clark Lafleur. (See details below regarding the Snacks n’ Sneakers program).

New this year, the Niagara Nutrition Partners have come on board and generously donated a $25 grocery gift card that will go to each household that registers for the Backpack Program, to help with school lunches.

Heading into September, the agency’s school children’s lunch kit program will also resume distribution of lunch kits to families with school children who are registered with Port Cares’ Reach Out Centre foodbank. Each lunch kit contains 5 days’ worth of healthy lunch supplies including fresh fruit, granola bars, pudding/yogurt cups, juice boxes, lunch meat and a loaf of bread for sandwiches.

This program was developed by Port Cares and originally launched thanks to funding from the Branscombe Family Foundation. The lunch kit program provided 12,000 lunches last year to kids in need and continues today with support from Feed Ontario, the Monsanto Foundation, RAW Materials Company, Port Colborne Fire Services, City of Port Colborne, local churches, as well as various individuals and community groups.

Registration for Port Cares’ Back to School program is now open, and those in-need are invited to phone the Reach Out Centre at 905-835-1914 to register. Over the last few years, the initiative has supported more than 100 local, individual children with backpacks, supplies and running shoes.

This year, Port Cares expects to see over 100 children again throughout distribution, which is set to operate alongside foodbank at the Reach Out Centre at 61 Nickel Street, beginning Wednesday August 18th from 12:30- 2:30pm and continuing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during that same timeframe until September 9th.

“We look forward to offering the program for many years to come, thanks to this generous and supportive community,” says Amanda Upper, Supervisor of Port Cares Reach Out Centre. “We are confident we can continue to support these local school-aged children through this and many other initiatives, as approximately 30% of the individuals served through foodbank are children under 18 years,” says Upper.

APPLYING FOR A BACKPACK

• Registration is open now

• Phone 905-835-1914 to register and receive a pick-up appointment (August 18 – September 9)

• Eligibility: Port Colborne / Wainfleet residents with school-aged children. Proof of low-income and ID for all children is required.

TO MAKE A DONATION

Drop off supplies at the Reach Out Centre (61 Nickel St.) Mon-Fri 9-4

NEW SUPPLIES NEEDED: (please no used items)

• Backpacks

• Crayons, pens, pencil crayons

• Math sets (protractors etc. for high school)

• Binders

• Pencil sharpeners

• Spiral notebooks

• Erasers

• Highlighters

• Scientific calculators

• Pencil cases / supply boxes

• Duo tangs

Alternatively, people can make a monetary donation to go towards purchasing supplies and food for this program:

1. E-transfer: Through personal banking, donations can be made by sending to donations@portcares.ca

2. Visit the “DONATE” section at www.portcares.ca

3. By Mail: Cheques can be made payable to Port Cares and mailed to Port Cares at 92 Charlotte Street, Port Colborne, L3K 3E1

QUICK FACTS ABOUT SNACKS N’ SNEAKERS PROGRAM:

• Canadian Tire Bank’s (CTB) Snacks n’ Sneakers program helps local school-aged children from families in financial need start their school year off on the right foot with new running shoes and other back to school supplies.

• This year, CTB donated approximately 1,100 pairs of running shoes to the Snacks n’ Sneakers program (shoes supplied by Sport Chek).

• Since its inception, Snacks n’ Sneakers has helped thousands of children from kindergarten to grade 12 start the year off with a new pair of shoes. The program works closely with Community Partners to identify and distribute shoes to kids in-need.

• This event is just one of many examples of CTB’s commitment to supporting the communities in which we live and work. We strive to promote the health and well-being of our communities, providing financial and volunteer support to local charitable and non-profit organizations.

QUICK FACTS ABOUT PORT CARES REACH OUT CENTRE:

• Port Cares Reach Out Centre (ROC) assists more than 1,700 individuals. A third of the people reliant on the ROC Food Bank are children.

• On average 20,000 pounds of food is distributed through the Port Cares Food Bank each month.

• Most needed food item donations for the food bank include ready-to-eat foods, pull-tab canned goods, canned meat, fruit, vegetables, pasta & sauce, peanut butter, cereal, jam, baby food, formula and diapers personal hygiene products.

• Last school year the Port Cares Reach Out Food Centre located at 61 Nickel Street, Port Colborne provided approximately more than 12,000 lunches to local school age elementary and secondary school children who live in low-income households.

• Hot, nutritious community meals are served three times a week to families and individuals in-need with more than 50 adults and children typically attend each meal.

ABOUT PORT CARES

• (Port Colborne Community Association for Resource Extension) was established as a not-for-profit registered charity in 1986. Port Cares is a not-for-profit community organization that provides development, employment, and support services to enhance the quality of life for individuals in Port Colborne, Wainfleet and the surrounding area. To learn more about our organization please visit www.portcares.ca

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