The purpose of the Good Backpack Program is to ensure that all children have the opportunity to participate completely in their education, regardless of their family’s financial status or means. The United Way of Quinte launched the program of providing children with backpacks filled grade appropriate school supplies in 2000 distributing over 12,000 backpacks since its inception.
At this time the Directors of both United Way of Quinte, and The Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation (The HPELF), would like to announce that the program will move from the United Way of Quinte to The HPELF. This will include a collaborative approach for the campaign and delivery of backpacks starting in the 2015/16 school year and through to the start of the 2016/17 school year.
The program will fully transition to The HPELF in 2016/17 for distribution of backpacks in the 2017/18 school year.
In transitioning to The HPELF and becoming part of the Student Emergency Fund, backpacks will be provided through quiet, confidential application made on behalf of students by school staff. There will not be a registration fee, and backpacks would be requested for students identified by school staff as needing support, and who otherwise wouldn’t have access to a backpack.
Backpacks will be available to students in publicly funded schools in Hastings and Prince Edward counties and the surrounding area.
Funds will be raised for the program through sponsorship, community donations and the ‘Stuff the Bus’ event.
The number of backpacks available through The HPELF will be dependent upon the amount of funds raised annually to support the campaign.
Judi Gilbert, Executive Director of United Way Quinte stated, “United Way of Quinte is a strong community partner and collaborator, and recognizes that while we have done a tremendous job of serving the community with this program, under the leadership of The HPELF the scope of the program will greatly increase. The HPELF has a mandate that would greatly increase the impact of this program and it aligns nicely with their current programs offered. We look forward to working with the team at The HPELF to transition the program smoothly.”
The United Way Director of Community Investment and HPELF staff will form a ‘Good Backpack’ Committee for the first three years of the campaign to monitor the funds raised and the transition of the program to the Student Emergency Fund model of distribution by request.
Geoff Cudmore, Chair of The HPELF has stated that, “The Good Backpack Program will further enhance the resources provided to students through the Student Emergency Fund. Food, hygiene items and clothing are examples of currently provided items. All of these things are essential to being able to learn.”
Maribeth deSnoo, Executive Director, The Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation, 613-966-1170 ext. 2205
Amy Watkins, Director of Community Resources, United Way of Quinte, 613-962-9531, ext. 30