Donations still being accept until week’s end
SHERBROOKE — Organizers of a program aimed at getting school supplies to children in need say the response by the public has been nothing short of overwhelming.
© Nancy MacPhee/Journal Pioneer
Janet Boulter, left, Deb Howatt-Gallant and Chere Kennaugh sort through school supplies Monday afternoon. The women were among a small group packing backpacks at the Sherbrooke Community Centre for children in need. The trio is involved with Operation Backpack, which is in its first year.
Monday afternoon, a small group of volunteers were busy sorting through donations and packing backpacks, which will be distributed to children in the Summerside area throughout the week and just in time for the start of school.
Organizers Deb Howatt-Gallant, Chere Kennaugh and Janet Boulter were among the group at the Sherbrooke Community Centre.
It was the trio that came up with the idea just two months ago.
The goal was, by week’s end, to have 200 backpacks to distribute. As of Monday, the campaign was about 60 backpacks short of that number.
“There are still more coming in,” said Boulter. “We’re probably packing about 100 bags today.”
Donations came from all over Prince County and from people of all ages.
“It’s been unreal, overwhelming, huge,” said Howatt-Gallant. “They see the need, for sure.”
Kennaugh added, “Just the amount of stuff we have just from the generosity of the community, I’m going to cry. To see it all in one place, it’s big.”
The backpacks will be given to families who are in receipt of social assistance but are finding it difficult to make ends meet.
“It’s important to teach our children to be giving and to think of other people,” said Kennaugh. “Even my own daughter has donated some of her own funds and went and bought school supplies. There have been a lot of families encouraging their children to get involved.”
The women plan to continue Operation Backpack next year. There is talk about potentially partnering with the YCMA’s Equipped to Learn Program, which provides school supplies to families in need that are on social assistance.
“If we’re left with bags left over we’ll spread it out to other communities,” said Howatt-Gallant. “We have touched some lives deeply and have made some really amazing connections with some people who probably didn’t think anybody cared.”
Donations are being accepted until Aug. 31. To donate, contact Kennaugh at 303-3154, Boulter at 954-0643 or Howatt-Gallant at 436-2823.
To learn more, visit Operation Backpack on Facebook.