It’s raining backpacks — 3,808 of them!!!

Community shows its local love with Best First Day

Thousands of children across the region will head back to school this September equipped with backpacks overflowing with school supplies, thanks to the generosity of community do-gooders.

“No one wants to go back to school and feel like they don’t have what they need to participate and get the best from their education. Best First Day ensures every student feels like they belong.”

Kelly Ziegner, CEO and President, United Way Elgin Middlesex

Best First Day, a community-wide school supplies drive, collects backpacks and other supplies for young people from low-income households. The drive is spearheaded by United Way’s GenNext and Labour United, Thames Valley Education Foundation and The Salvation Army.

“Ultimately it’s about giving kids the tools they need to learn,” said Kelly Ziegner, CEO and President, United Way Elgin Middlesex. “No one wants to go back to school and feel like they don’t have what they need to participate and get the best from their education. Best First Day ensures every student feels like they belong.”

This year the drive collected over 3,808 backpacks stuffed to the brim with school supplies. The backpacks will be distributed to students in the Thames Valley District School Board, The London Catholic District School Board, and First Nations schools across the region.

The drive began in 2001 when Natalie Trimple and Chantal McClaughlin began collecting backpacks in their basement. Originally named Supplies for Students, the drive worked with United Way, Thames Valley Education Foundation and other community partners to provide backpacks and school supplies for students so that every child can start school ready to learn.

Students or parents needing a backpack can contact their school principal to make a request.

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