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Helping kids get ready for school

Operation BackPack is back for another year to help at risk families and their children with back to school supplies.

The United Way of Durham Region says this is the 14th consecutive year of the Operation BackPack program in Durham Region.

In the fight against poverty, and to mitigate its impacts, United Way says childhood and youth education preparedness is critical.

“The “back to school” feeling that, for so many, can be invigorating and a time of excitement and expectation can for others be a daunting time,” says Cindy Murray, CEO of United Way of Durham Region, adding school supplies and backpacks come with a cost which for some must be weighed against food or accommodation for other expenses.

“The underlying objective for Operation BackPack in Durham is to help relieve this pressure,” she adds. “Not only does it help to provide critical materials for a child, but it also helps (in a small way) lift some of the burdensome pressures of poverty from a family.”

A parent or family may register their child or children with one of the United Way’s Operation BackPack partner agencies:

Brock, Scugog and Uxbridge: Big Brothers and Big Sisters of North Durham – 905-985-3733

Clarington: Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Clarington – 905-623-6646

Oshawa: Simcoe Hall Settlement House – 905-728-7525

Ajax and Pickering:

Girls Inc. – 905-428-8111

Open Arms – 416-995-6144

Women’s Multicultural Resource and Counselling Centre – 905-427-7849

Ajax Welcome Centre – 1-877-761-1155 or email

Pickering Welcome Centre – 1-877-761-1155

Additionally, parents or guardians can call 211 to find the program partner applicable for their area.