Drop In Requests For Operation BackPacks

Operation Backpacks 2017 at United Way Chatham. August 28, 2017. (Photo by Sarah Cowan Blackburn News Chatham-Kent).

If you or someone you know is having trouble coming up with enough cash to buy back-to-school supplies this year, there’s still time to apply to Operation BackPacks.

Goodneighbours Coordinator Mary Symons says only about 300 requests for backpacks have been received so far this year. Symons says there are normally over 1,000 requests by now.

“We do have, at the moment, a reduction in requests. That primarily would be due to the change we’ve made this year in how to apply for a backpack,” says Symons. “As of this year, we’ve gone paperless. There wasn’t the paper sent out to the school to go home to the parents. This year it was changed, it’s all online.”

Symons says the program is going to stick with the online process, but she also recognizes that not everyone has access to the internet.

“In that instance, if they don’t have access to the internet or they’re not able to go to the library or pop over to a friends house… they certainly can call into the office and we’ll take down their information and get that application in for them,” she explains.

Symons says other than the drop in requests so far this year, the campaign is going great.

“We have our partners for providing donations, monetary and supplies, and we’re having a great response for volunteers to assist with the program,” she says. “A concern right now is just noting that everybody has the opportunity to request that backpack that’s needed to help with the extra expenses that go with having their young ones get off to school.”

Symons says applications can be accessed through www.OperationBackPacksCK.ca. Anyone who is in need of assistance completing the form can visit the United Way offices in Chatham, Tilbury, and Wallaceburg from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday. They can also call (519) 354-0430 for assistance.

The deadline for requests is August 17.