With children across Nanaimo-Ladysmith district expected to be returning to educational normalcy in September, a campaign to raise money for students suffering from poverty has begun.
Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation’s Stock the Lockers campaign runs until Aug. 31. Crystal Dennison, foundation executive director, said last year’s campaign was affected by COVID-19, and not as much money was raised. The goal for this year is $50,000.
Money raised goes toward supplies, meal and student support programs and other school-related expenses. A number of students learned via distance education last year and it is anticipated many will return to bricks-and-mortar schools in September, something the foundation is preparing for. Dennison said it is looking at steady or increasing numbers of students requiring school supply support or support from the foundation’s student support fund.
“It’s a continual thing, whether there’s COVID or not, we have a number of students who are requiring support,” said Dennison. “Whether it’s with the basics of their school supplies and runners, emergency medical and dental, glasses and grad fees, all of those things, we continue to see that need exists and that’s something that needs to happen year-over-year. There isn’t really any major positive shift where we’re seeing less need from students in our district.”
While fundraising events throughout the year couldn’t be held due to health restrictions, Dennison did say there was a positive coming out of the pandemic.
“We did receive some support from COVID relief funding, which was very specific to our Food4Schools program,” said Dennison. “We were able to purchase equipment and set up a food depot, which is now allowing us to be more effective, permanently with our food program because we have an actual location and infrastructure to run the program.”
People can donate to Stock the Lockers at Coastal Community Credit Unions in Nanaimo and on Gabriola Island, as well as Nanaimo-area Staples and Country Grocer stores.
“One thing with Stock the Lockers is, it’s an annual campaign that we really try and raise awareness regarding the work that we do,” said Dennison. “The month of August this year, we’re doing that, however, the need doesn’t stop in September. It continues throughout the school year, so we’re encouraging folks to consider making a monthly, ongoing, donation.”
For more information on the campaign, or to donate online, go here.