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Backpacks and school supplies distributed to children in domestic violence and homeless shelters

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The Children’s Cottage Society is one of the many domestic violence and homeless shelters receiving backpacks from Na’amat Canada Calgary. (Photo: CCS)

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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. 

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“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.

“Our group from the very start wanted to do something that was local,” Sacks told the Calgary Herald.

“We used to make gift packets for the mothers at the shelters, and one year while I was delivering them I asked, ‘Is there any other needs?’ . . . And they said there’s always a need for school supplies and backpacks… Very often (children’s) school supplies are left behind, or if they are left behind and they try to get them, the abuser is so angry that they pretty much destroy anything. And then the child is faced with being in a new place, with new teachers in a new school and a new classroom, and they can walk in without a backpack or basic supplies.””

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A shelter for youth aged 12 to 17 who are experiencing homelessness will provide 50 of the backpacks to students over the upcoming school year.

“This means that our kids can go to school and not stand out as the kids who don’t have backpacks,”  Avenue 15’s Melissa Morrison told the Herald, explaining the shelter takes in about 25 youths per night. Up to 170 kids in crisis are served over the course of a year, including ‘a mix of children with or without parents or guardians who seek shelter’.

“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. www.naamat.com/calgary

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

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