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Local ‘Back to School Supplies’ drive continues donations to area schools

A thank you from students at Perth Road Public School, a 2021 drive recipient.
Photo via Kiwanis Club of Kingston.

Last weekend, Staples and Kiwanis launched their annual ‘Back to School Supplies’ drive. Donations can be made at the two Kingston Staples locations, and the funds will go toward purchasing technology for area schools. Last year, the drive raised enough money to provide 40 Chromebooks to local schools, and organizers hope to raise that much again.

In a media release, project coordinators Jeremy Goulding (west end Staples), Nicholas Pike (downtown Staples), and Rowland Tinline (Kiwanis Club of Kingston) shared that Chromebooks are the computing technology of choice for elementary schools. Since the onset of the pandemic, technology resources have been scarce, the trio pointed out, noting that this year’s project will continue to supply Chromebooks to needy schools as essential tools for modern education.

According to Tinline, the annual program had lapsed for a few years, but, during the pandemic, the need for more technology to support area students with online learning propelled the organizations to resume the annual drive.

In 2020, there was a great response to the drive and the community raised almost $28,000 dollars (a combination of in-store giving and donations from local businesses and the Kiwanis Club) which resulted in 60 Chromebooks for area schools, according to the release. In 2021, the community was again generous and donations yielded 40 more Chromebooks.

When Kingstonist inquired as to which schools will receive donations this year, Tinline shared that a panel of principals from last year’s recipient schools will be asked to recommend area schools in most need of additional support. “Over the years we have found that school principals know what works best for our community schools,” he stated.

Tinline also shared that the Staples/Kiwanis partnership has been supporting area schools for many years. “When I first joined Kiwanis (15 years ago) the ‘Back to School Supplies’ program was known as the ‘School Bus’ program. The Staples store had a large storage bin with a cut-out of a yellow school bus on each side. Customers bought school supplies and put them in the storage bin at checkout,” he explained in an email.

At that time, the Kiwanis Club collected those supplies (pencils, pens, paper, craft supplies, backpacks, etc.), sorted them, reboxed them and delivered them to local schools in need. Tinline stated that about 10 years ago, the Staples stores started collecting cash donations in lieu of supplies.

“The Kiwanis Club then distributed cheques to schools in need to buy school supplies to best support their students,” he continued. “At that time, our club membership included two principals, one from the Separate School Board and one from the Public School Board. In consultation with their colleagues, they identified schools to receive cheques for supplies.”

Last year’s donations were very much appreciated by the recipient schools:

“We are thankful to your organizations for providing us with computers (Chromebooks) which will help provide our students with technical education, which is a must in present times,” stated Hilda Barret, principal of Fairfield Elementary.

“[This donation] helps ensure that all students have access to technology for learning, whether used as a research tool, an assistive device for reading and writing, or a means to connect and work collaboratively with others,” said Mary Jane Jarvis, principal at Prince Charles Public School.

Monetary donations are being accepted at both Staples locations until Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022. According to the release, the staff at both stores are enthusiastic about this project and look forward to another successful drive this year. 

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