by Saundra Lipton and Marni Besser
(Calgary) – Every day of the week children take refuge in Alberta shelters to escape domestic violence and/or homelessness. Typically, these children arrive at the shelters with little more than the clothes on their backs and then are faced with re-entering the school system within days of their arrival.
Worries such as not having their own pencil or notebook or a bag to carry their schoolbooks are put to rest when the children receive a backpack stocked with school supplies courtesy of Na’amat Canada Calgary’s School Supplies for Kids program. Since 1998, this annual community service project has equipped more than 24,000 children with backpacks and grade appropriate school supplies, which has helped strengthen their self-esteem during a dark and difficult time in their lives.
On Sunday, August 28, Na’amat Canada Calgary volunteers gathered to pack backpacks with essential school supplies for the over 800 school-aged children anticipated to take refuge in Calgary and southern Alberta shelters over the coming school year.
“The cost of the backpacks and school supplies has increased exponentially, making it more of a challenge to meet the needs of these vulnerable children. Fortunately, the funds raised from our recent 50/50 raffle and matched by up to 50% by Shaw Birdies for Kids presented by AltaLink have made it possible for our School Supplies for Kids program to continue again this year,” says Stephanie Sacks, School Supplies for Kids Chair.
“It is heartwarming to see how our members and volunteers remain committed to providing the needed backpacks and school supplies for these children. This year we had close to 60 volunteers for our packing day, so we could complete the task at hand. With the ongoing threat of Covid we continued to implement the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our volunteers,” notes Linda Gutman, School Supplies for Kids Volunteer Coordinator.
Established in 1925, Na’amat Canada is part of an international Jewish women’s non-profit organization that is dedicated to empowering the lives of women and children in Canada and in Israel.
For more information visit naamat.com/calgary