North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society members Samantha Robinson (right) and Lorel Brown (second from right) are joined by volunteer Aleya Chirkoff (from left)

North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society members Samantha Robinson (right) and Lorel Brown (second from right) are joined by volunteer Aleya Chirkoff (from left)

Kids packed for class

Back to School Project 2013 provided 551 packs of school supplies to deserving students who would benefit from such support

Thanks to an annual fundraising campaign, more than 500 North Okanagan families were able to get their kids back to school.

The Back to School Project 2013 provided 551 packs of school supplies to deserving students who would benefit from such support.

“The recipients are students within families who struggle with meeting the financial stress of back to school costs,” said Lorel Brown of North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society (NOYFSS), who coordinated the filling and distribution of backpacks, and raised funds to purchase backpacks that were not otherwise donated.

Backpack recipients are in the North Okanagan area including Vernon, Lumby, Cherryville, Armstrong, and Enderby.

The project would not be able to proceed without the help of dedicated partners.

Staples staff made an incredible fundraising effort by way of a store raffle, silent auction, garage sales, bake sales, and in-store donations to raise the funds necessary to provide all of the school supplies.

“A huge effort from Jamie Wattie and the entire staff team to make this project possible,” said Brown. “The Staples team surpassed their goal of $20,000 and raised $24,025.”

Staples also had incredible support from 18 local businesses including significant contributions from Heartwood Homes and Wattie Construction.

The community really stepped up and helped the Vernon Staples store achieve the No. 1 ranking amongst all of the Staples stores across Canada for fundraised dollars towards this initiative.

Big Sun Tanning owners Lisa and Glenn Gallie coordinated the provision of more than 300 backpacks and recruited support by way of in kind donations from the following:

Garrett Halayko – Hurley

Jennifer Rainie – Quicksilver/Roxy

Sean McMillan – Billabong

Michael Costigan – Dakine

“A huge thank you for this group stepping up to ensure that the recipients received such quality backpacks,” said Brown.

The Family Resource Centre, White Valley Community Resource Centre and Armstrong Boys and Girls Club each fundraised to purchase backpacks and assisted with distribution.