Every kid, regardless of their family's financial situation, deserves to go to school with brand new school supplies, said Major Brad Smith with the Richmond Salvation Army.
To help make that happen, the local chapter at 8280 Gilbert Rd. is giving away 75 brand new, black backpacks filled with supplies like pencil crayons, pens, paper and duo-tangs to children in need from Grades 1 to 12.
"They're expensive - some people really can't afford it. That's why we're trying to help," said Smith.
"It's just for needy families, not John Doe who comes in for three backpacks. You also have to prove these kids are in the family by bringing CareCards or what have you."
Smith added the packs given out at the Richmond office are meant for those living in the community, and anyone who believes they qualify can drop by the office during regular business hours,
Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Major Russ Holland, executive director at the Salvation Army Vancouver Community & Family Services said this initiative has been happening at locations across the the province for several years.
"In the beginning the scale was pretty small," said Holland. "It was just supplies in a paper bag, and then it grew to supplies in about 500 backpacks a few years ago.
"And then last year the BC Chiropractic Association donated 5,000 to promote back health for children."
Each pack contains a fact sheet outlining safe carrying habits.
Other businesses, such as Starbucks, Staples and Fitness Town, also chip in by either collecting donations or providing volunteers to help with the stuffing and distribution of supplies.
Aside from the new backpacks given out, Smith said the Richmond branch is also accepting back-to-school gear.
"If anyone in the community wants to donate, we can always use the stuff. We usually have more requests than just the backpacks," he said.
Families needing clothing can request a voucher that can be redeemed at any of the Salvation Army thrift stores.
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