Now collecting until August 1

Before the school year is over, we are already planning for next year’s #BestFirstDay. The Best First Day program is a community wide school supplies drive collecting backpacks and school supplies for students in need of support for these essential items.

Last year, the annual community-wide drive was able to deliver nearly 3,700 backpacks were collected and delivered to over 170 different schools. Amid the financial strain many families are facing, there is an anticipated increased need among students for school supplies.

On behalf of Thames Valley Education Foundation, United Way Elgin Middlesex and The Salvation Army, we thank you for helping the students in our community. With your help, we are making sure that every student has the best chance to learn and succeed.

Best First Day, Participating partners: Thames Valley Education Foundation, United Way Elgin Middlesex, Labour United and The Salvation Army.

Now collecting

Remember, we are collecting brand news items only. No used or company branded items please!
Only brand-new items listed here will be accepted.

Elementary


  • Backpacks
  • Lunch Bags
  • Notebooks
  • Pencil Cases & Pencils
  • Pencil Crayon Package
  • Reusable Water Bottles

Secondary


  • Backpacks
  • Pencil Cases, Pencils & Pens
  • Thin Binders & Lined Paper Packs
  • Highlighters
  • Reusable Water Bottles

#BestFirstDay Toolkit

Start a collection drive, tell your friends and give local students a super start to the school year

Participate as an individual or a team and collect items for the Best First Day Community-Wide School Supplies drive!

Cash donations received during the collection drive will be used to purchase any necessary items for families and students in need.

For questions or help setting up a collection drive, please contact Brittany Webb, Thames Valley Education Foundation at 519.452.2000 x 20202

Here you will find resources to help spread the word.

Promote your drive on social media and tag us in your posts:

  • #BestFirstDay
  • #Schooltools
  • #LocalLove
  • #DoGooders

Making a best first day for every child

In 2001, Natalie Trimble and Chantal McLaughlin, two working moms, started Supplies for Schools in their basement. Their goal: provide backpacks and school supplies for students in need so that every kid can start school ready to learn.

Today, the program has grown into a community-wide school supplies drive coordinated by three community partners – United Way Elgin Middlesex, Thames Valley Education Foundation and The Salvation Army. Collected backpacks and school supplies are given to local schools for distribution to students in need.

In 2023, Best First Day collected and gave out nearly 3,700 backpacks full of school supplies!

Not part of a workplace collection drive? Individuals and small groups can drop-off backpacks here:

Stay tuned for drop-off locations!

Interested in volunteering?

If you are an individual and/or family looking to volunteer, please email Brittany at b.webb@tvdsb.ca

If you are an organization/company looking for your own packing session, please email Brittany at b.webb@tvdsb.ca to arrange.

We look forward to packing with you!

For general inquiries about setting up a collection drive or making a donation:

Brittany Webb
Executive Director
Thames Valley Education Foundation
b.webb@tvdsb.ca
519.452.2000 x 20202

Roxanne Riddell
Director, Community Impact
United Way Elgin Middlesex
rriddell@unitedwayem.ca
519.438.1723 ext 224

Rebecca  Thiessen
Integrated Missions Manager
The Salvation Army
rebecca.thiessen@salvationarmy.ca
519.660.5884 ext 105

For media inquiries:

Cheryl Weedmark
Communications Manager
Thames Valley Education Foundation
519.452.2000 ext 20209

Roxanne Riddell
Director, Community Impact
United Way Elgin Middlesex
rriddell@unitedwayem.ca
519.438.1723 ext 224

Rebecca  Thiessen
Integrated Missions Manager
The Salvation Army
519.660.5884 ext 105

Looking for school supplies for your family or someone you may know?

Items collected during this drive will be distributed through the Thames Valley Education Foundation. Please contact your child’s school principal for more information.

Participating Organizations

Dakota HalfpennyBest First Day – school supplies drive