In only one month of fundraising, the Stock the Lockers campaign raised $8,000 for students in Ladysmith and North Oyster.
Stock the Lockers raises money to equip students for school — whether they need running shoes, warm coats or school supplies — and the program is run through the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation (NLSF).
Mimi Zuyderduyn, who ran Stock the Lockers in Ladysmith along with Delana Sword, says donations are still coming in, but when she brought all the donations to the NLSF on Sept. 12, they were very impressed with the Ladysmith total of $8,000.
Zuyderduyn says she and Sword were a bit surprised they raised so much money in a relatively short time.
“We thought if we could get to $4,000, we’d be thrilled,” she said. “I was joking that we’d get to $5,000 — $1,000 for each school. We’re just really thrilled. We were just really surprised how much need there is in this area. We’re just happy to have been able to make a difference for them.”
Ladysmith council proclaimed August as Stock the Lockers Month in Ladysmith, and volunteers had information tables, donation cans and posters throughout town.
Zuyderduyn was thrilled with the community response to Stock the Lockers.
“Everybody was receptive,” she said. “Everybody was so supportive and generous. It was just coming from every direction too. Even kids were throwing in quarters and nickels, and it all adds up, as we know. We’re just delighted with the response, but not surprised because Ladysmith is such a generous community — we’re just thrilled to be part of it.”
For the entire Nanaimo-Ladysmith region, the NLSF exceeded its fundraising goal this year for the Stock the Lockers campaign, raising more than $54,000.
For the third year, campaign partner Staples has taken donations at the checkout of its two Nanaimo locations, and they raised $18,000. Coastal Community Credit Union was involved for the second year through accepting donations and running events at its four branches, and they raised more than $8,700.
Funds from Stock the Lockers go towards the purchase of school supplies and to help provide necessities for students throughout the year through the NLSF Student Support Fund.
The NLSF Student Support Fund was created three years ago to get funds directly to school principals, teachers and counsellors to assist vulnerable students to ensure they get the help they need to succeed in school. This includes shoes or coats, more school supplies if needed, money to cover band or athletic fees, bus passes and other necessities. The fund aims to ensure that issues associated with poverty do not prevent students from learning alongside their peers.
“Coming to school prepared in September can be the difference between success and failure for vulnerable students, and with the help of the Nanaimo and Ladysmith community, those students are prepared this year,” NLSF executive director Erin van Steen said in a press release.
People can still donate to Stock the Lockers by sending donations to the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation and designating them for Ladysmith.