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Simcoe Hall collecting school supplies for local students

Community initiative has grown from handing out 30 backpacks in first year to more than 630 in 2017

Simcoe Hall Settlement House’s annual backpack and school supply campaign is well underway. The campaign received a significant boost through a donation from the Oshawa Professional Fire Fighters Association on Aug. 15.

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

The kids may not want to hear it, but it’s only a few weeks until they will be back in the classroom.

For some families there is an added stress of the costs that come with school supplies, so once again Simcoe Hall Settlement House is stepping up to lend a hand.

The organization recently launched its 11th annual backpack program

Every year, Simcoe Hall provides brand new backpacks full of supplies to children, youth and teens within the community.

Program coordinator Pat Savage says backpacks are available for students from kindergarten to Grade 12.

The program has grown significantly over the past decade. Savage says about 30 bags were handed out the first year in comparison the 639 delivered in 2017.

Savage says it appears the program will reach new heights this year, as she expects to distribute between 670 to 700 backpacks.

“I’ve got 450 bags packed already, it’s just phenomenal,” she tells The Oshawa Express.

The strong start to the campaign was aided by the Oshawa Professional Fire Fighters Association on Aug. 15.

The association donated $300 in supplies at Fire Hall 1.

“This is the first time we’ve teamed up with Simcoe Hall on the program, and we believe it is really important,” Peter Dyson, OPFFA president says. “Buy students their supplies, they can focus on their studies.”

“We love helping out in the community, and helping kids is extremely important,” he adds.

There are many items that are needed and Savage highlighted just a few, including backpacks for all ages; pencil crayons; washable markers, crayons, binders, loose leaf paper, coil and stapled scribblers [notebooks], pens, erasers, duotangs, and glue sticks.

Supplies can be dropped off at Simcoe Hall Settlement House at 387 Simcoe Street South in Oshawa between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

For in need of supplies can call 905-728-7525.