Five hundred students in the Comox Valley will be properly equipped with supplies for the upcoming school year, thanks to the efforts of a couple of businesses, and one local service club.
The Kiwanis Club of Courtenay continued a long-standing tradition, dropping off 300 supply kits to School District 71 elementary schools. It was the 18th year that the Kiwanis Club has helped out in this regard.
And for the fourth straight year, Jiffy Lube and Staples have teamed up with their own initiative to aid students in the Comox Valley.
The Jiffy Lube/Staples collaboration culminated in 200 backpacks being dropped off to the SD 71 office Friday morning (Sept. 3).
“We take cash donations from our clients throughout the year, which amounted to about $1,000 this year,” said Jiffy Lube owner Kevin Wilson.
The Courtenay Staples location also set up an in-store display, letting customers know about the promotion, and collected nearly $3,300 for customers.
“We had a display set up at a till, just showing what a $50 backpack looks like… and the community got behind this,” said Staples general manager Dwayne Toews.
Those donations helped with the costs of supplies.
Each backpack contains pens, pencils, highlighters, paper, binders, rulers, and new this year are water bottles, and face masks.
There are two sizes of backpacks this year.
“We are giving out 175 of the average size backpacks, and we went with 25 smaller ones this year, for the smaller children,” said Wilson.
Toews said it’s a great way for his business to give back to the community.
“This means everything to me,” he said. “Any time we can give back to the community, I am definitely for it. And being able to team up with the gang from Jiffy Lube just made it so much easier and so much fun.”
The Courtenay Kiwanis club dropped off its kits to five different elementary schools earlier on in the week.
|A Kiwanis volunteer loads his car with student school supplies to be delivered to Comox Valley elementary schools. Photo supplied|
“I send out a form at the beginning of May, and the administration from the five schools sends back the number of (kits) needed,” said Kiwanis Club member Karen Lange, who has been involved with the initiative since its inception. “We have had requests for up to 400 in past years. Last year we had 347. This year was 300. So it is encouraging (that the numbers are lowering).”
Queneesh Elementary was one of the five schools to receive Kiwanis kits, and Queneesh principal Kyle Timms was grateful. His school received 82 kits.
“For the staff, it means that all the kids have exactly what they need – we aren’t being limited by families’ socio-economic challenges. We know that the kids will have what they need,” he said. “The big thing is for the families. It represents a big cost-saving measure for them. It’s an extra cost they don’t have to worry about.”
School District 71 assistant superintendent Geoff Manning said these initiatives are great.
“We have a lot of vulnerable students in our school population and this helps tremendously,” he said. “Our schools take advantage of it. They have come to rely on this as the school year starts up, to help the students out.”