September is here and with it countless children are heading back to school this week. An expensive time for parents, making ends meet can be especially challenging for families from low-income households. But thanks to a community wide backpack drive, more children will go back to school confident and with the pens, crayons and tools they need.
Best First Day, an annual collection drive, collects backpacks and other school supplies for youth. A community initiative, Best First Day is coordinated by United Way Elgin Middlesex’s GenNext and Labour United, Thames Valley Education Foundation (TVEF) and the Salvation Army.
BestFirstDay set a goal of collecting 4,000 backpacks this year, each brimming with school supplies for students in the Thames Valley District School Board, The London District School Board, and First Nations schools across the region.
The drive began in 2001 when Natalite Trimble and Chantal McClaughlin spearheaded the initiative from their basement. Since that time, Supplies for Students has worked with United Way, TVEF and other partners to collect and distribute thousands of backpacks to local youth—making sure as many kids as possible feel included on their first day back! Students or parents needing a backpack can contact their school principal to make a request.