Now collecting until September 2

Though summer has only just begun, the Thames Valley Education Foundation (TVEF), United Way, and The Salvation Army are hard at work preparing to support students this September through Best First Day. Last year, the annual community-wide drive was able to deliver nearly 3,200 backpacks full of supplies to students of all ages in need across the entire Thames Valley district, in addition to Indigenous communities, the London District Catholic School Board, and several community agencies. Amid the financial strain many families are facing with COVID-19, there is an anticipated increased need among students for school supplies.

The digital shopping experience is available again this year. You can shop from the comfort of your home. Of course, we will continue to accept donations of physical backpacks and supplies through our workplace collections and at our drop off locations but will be wrapping up the collection on September 2, to ensure we get supplies to students before they go back to school.

Now collecting


  • Backpacks
  • Markers/Pencil Crayons
  • Lunch Bags
  • Pencils
  • Pencil Cases
  • Water bottle
  • Notebooks
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks


  • Backpacks
  • Markers
  • Pencil crayons
  • Scientific Calculators
  • Water bottle
  • Binders
  • Notebooks
  • Paper

#BestFirstDay Toolkit

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

Sign up as an individual or team to 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 children in need.

For questions or help setting up a collection drive, please contact Lindsay Walker, Thames Valley Education Foundation at 519.452.2000 x 20187

NEW! Adopt a School!
Is there a school in your neighbourhood you’d like to collect for? Perhaps your local workplace or organization wants to give directly to one school community (or more).  Email Lindsay at to inquire – we have schools with a range of needs and quantity, making us confident we can arrange something!

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 2021, Best First Day collected and gave out nearly 3,200 backpacks full of school supplies!

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

TVDSB Education Centre

1250 Dundas St., London, ON  N5W 5P2 – REAR OF BUILDING

Starting Tuesday, July 26 – Thursday, August 25 donations will be accepted from Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. in the cafeteria. Please see below map to see what entrance you should go to, and the back of the building. A door will be propped open. Drop-off location is on the north-east building section. Please email Lindsay Walker with any questions at

If you are a company that would like to be a drop-off site for donations, please email Lindsay to coordinate

Collins Clothiers

297 Adelaide St S, London

Mon-Wed: 10am-6pm
Thursday/Friday: 10am-8pm
Sat: 10am-5pm
Sun: 12pm-4pm

Hillcrest Community Church
310 Vesta Road, London, ON N5Y 5J1
August 2 – September 2
8am-4pm (ring doorbell at front entrance)

Oxford County Administration Building
21 Reeve St. Woodstock
Mon. – Fri, 8am-4:30pm

Community Libraries

Ailsa Craig Library
Aylmer Old Town Hall Library
Belmont Library
Coldstream Library
Dorchester Library
Dutton Library
Fred Bodsworth Public Library of Port Burwell
Lucan Library
Parkhill Library
Port Stanley Library
Rodney Library
Southwold Township Library, Shedden
Springfield Library
Straffordville Library
St. Thomas Public Library
Thorndale Library
West Lorne Library
Woodstock Public Library

Interested in volunteering?

If you are an individual and/or family looking to volunteer, please email Lindsay at 

If you are an organization/company looking for your own packing session, please email Lindsay at to arrange.

We look forward to packing with you!


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

Lindsay Walker
Development Assistant
Thames Valley Education Foundation
519.452.2000 x 20187

Roxanne Riddell
Interim Director, Community Impact
United Way Elgin Middlesex
519.438.1723 ext 224

Rebecca  Thiessen
Integrated Missions Manager
The Salvation Army
519.660.5884 ext 105

For media inquiries:

Cheryl Weedmark
Communications Manager
Thames Valley Education Foundation
519.452.2000 ext 20209

Jennifer Wain
Director, Communications & Donor Experience
United Way Elgin Middlesex
519.438.1723 ext 228

Rebecca  Thiessen
Integrated Missions Manager
The Salvation Army
519.660.5884 ext 105

Information coming soon!

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 Workplaces

3M Canada

Canada Life

Collins Clothiers

General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada

London Police Service

Sifton Properties

TD “Back in Class”

Dakota HalfpennyBest First Day – school supplies drive