The deadline is looming to register for the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries’ Back to School backpack program.
For more than 15 years the organization has been distributing backpacks for children filled with all the school supplies they will need for the coming school year.
Last year they distributed more than 300 backpacks. This year Amelia Norrie, fundraising coordinator with the local chapter, is expecting to hand out 350 fully packed backpacks.
“The demand for our services increases every year,” explained Norrie.
“Whether its due to the pressures from COVID-19 lock-down or inflation, we always prepare about 25 per cent more each year then we did the previous year,” she said.
As far as donations are concerned, they have already purchased all of the school supplies. Norrie noted that monetary donations would be best.
However, they will still welcome backpacks, as supply was tough this year, said Norrie, and they are still shopping for backpacks daily online and at local stores.
“We’d like to thanks Sarah Hamel at Maple Ridge Chrysler for donating backpacks, as she’s been shopping since May for our program and has made a real dent in our need for backpacks,” noted Norrie.
The deadline to register for backpacks is Friday, Aug. 19.
To qualify, families must: be residents of Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows; have low income or are need of additional resources; with school aged children attending kindergarten to Grade 12.
Those in need of the Back to School program come from different backgrounds. They can be single mothers or fathers; working families trying to make ends meet; seniors with custody of their grandchildren; or new immigrant families.
Backpacks will be handed out at the ministry’s Back to School Fair from 10-2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 26 at Christian Life Assembly, 11756 232 St. in Maple Ridge.
The fair is a fun day with games, face painting, mascots and a barbecue.
To register for the program, families can visit ridgemeadowssa.ca/back-to-school.
To donate to the program go to canadahelps.org/en/charities/the-salvation-army-ridge-meadows-ministries.
New backpacks can be dropped off at the Salvation Army’s administrative office at 11948 227 St., Unit D.
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