There are only a few weeks left of summer which mean “Backpacks for Kids” organizers are collecting school supplies to help local children get ready before they head back to school.
“Backpacks for Kids” is a local non-profit group of volunteers which help families within the Rainy River District accommodate with the expenses and stresses of preparing for the upcoming school year. This will be its seventh year here.
Kathy Lampi, one of the organizers with “Backpacks for Kids," said due to time constraints this year, they are unable to do a "Stuff the Bus” event but are still hopeful to surpass last year's total of 241 backpacks.
“We had a phenomenal year last year. Each year we try to do a little bit better so we got some pretty big numbers to beat this year,” enthused Lampi.
“I mean 250 is a great number, but we would like to bump it up a little bit more and help out the area kids going back to school.”
“Backpacks for Kids” are looking for new backpacks as well as school supplies such as binders, notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons, markers, pencil cases, calculators, geometry sets, water bottles, and lunch containers. They also accept cash donations.
Organizers are accepting donation until Aug. 19 at either the Bargain Shop at 360 Scott St. or M. Wu Dentistry at 1201 Colonization Rd. West.
Once all the donations have been collected, “Backpacks for Kids” partners with Kenora-Rainy River Districts Child and Family Services and Weechi-it-te-win Family Services to distribute the school supplies throughout the Rainy River District.
“In past years, we've had a few extras and we do send them to the women's shelter," mentioned Lampi. "It is also entertaining the kids who have been taken out of their home but, it also gives the mom the chance to help them out with sending the kids to school, as well.”
Lampi said she understands there can be a lot of stress around get kids ready to return to school.
"With the way school has changed over the years, it's more and more expensive as far as school supplies and whatnot for the kids to go back to school—whether they're just starting out or they're in high school now, so it's more costly.
“This way we are able to help everybody take a little pressure off getting the kids ready for school. It just takes a lot of the pressure off of the parents,” remarked Lampi.
She added this project has been very rewarding for her to see the community's involvement and how they are helping families locally.
“It's nice to give back to the community as well and you know local people are donating and it's nice to stay in our area for everybody that does need it,” said Lampi.
“This community is just amazing how people donate. It's just unbelievable how giving our community is,” she added, noting how thankful and overwhelmed she is with the donations they have already received and is excited as donations are still rolling in.
If you would like to donate and have any questions or would like to schedule a pickup please call Kathy Lampi and Ashley Sisco at (807)274-5365 or (807)274-5370.
Organizers can also be reached through their Facebook page “Backpacks for Kids Fort Frances.”