Help give every young person their Best First Day

Community drive collects backpacks for kids

Summer might have just begun for kids in our region but some parents are already worrying about how to afford all the supplies needed to send their kids back to school this fall. Best First Day, a partnership coordinated by United Way Elgin Middlesex’s Labour United and GenNext, Thames Valley Education Foundation and the Salvation Army, has begun collecting backpacks and school supplies to provide kids from families in need.

“Back to school shopping is an expensive time of year, and many families in our community are struggling to make ends meet,” says Kelly Ziegner, CEO, United Way Elgin Middlesex. “Best First Day helps to make sure every child in our region heads back on their first day with the tools they need to succeed.”

This year aims to collect even more backpacks with a goal of 4,000, each stuffed to the brim with pens, paper, pencils and everything else a young person needs to make their first day back great.

How you can help…

1. Purchase:


  • Backpacks
  • Markers/Pencil Crayons
  • Lunch Bags
  • Pencils
  • Pencil Cases


  • Backpacks
  • Markers
  • Pencil crayons
  • Scientific Calculators

2. Drop off deadline — Aug 12:


  • Carson Public Library
  • Westmount Mall (Stokes storefront)
  • White Oaks Mall (Guest Services)


  • Ingersoll Library


  • Alymer Old Town Hall Library
  • Belmont Library
  • Fred Bodsworth Public Library of Port Burwell
  • John Kenneth Galbraith Reference Library, Dutton
  • Port Stanley Library
  • Rodney Library
  • Springfield Library
  • Straffordville Library
  • Southwold Township Library, Shedden
  • Thomas Library
  • West Lorne Library

3. Start your own collection

4. Tell your friends on social media and tag us in your posts:

Check out the Best First Day site for more info and more ways you can get involved.

Donated items support students in the Thames Valley District School Board, the London District Catholic School Board, and First Nations schools across the region.

Anyone in need of a backpack or school supplies should contact their school principal.

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