Backpacks for Kids modified for 2020

Backpacks for Kids modified for 2020

Backpacks for Kids is a special initiative that traditionally provides free backpacks filled with school supplies to youth in need across the region. Due to COVID-19, the need to have your own school supplies is more important than ever and we want to make sure every student has the tools for successful learning online or at school.

For the past 17 years, United Way has worked with hundreds of volunteers who gathered over the course of two days to pack thousands of full backpacks. “It was always a great time, and gratifying to see”, says one volunteer who has been coming back for years. “This year, due to physical distancing rules, we just can’t do what we did before. It isn’t responsible.”

The Backpacks program relied heavily on the many volunteers to get the job done but with the current landscape and safety as the number one priority, United Way opted to modify the program. This year, we will distribute school supplies on a smaller scale; instead of a backpack stuffed with everything a child needs, we will be putting together pencil cases with the essential supplies inside and a $25 gift card enabling families to purchase the rest. This gives families the freedom to choose what they really need for their children’s successful learning. It may be headphones, or a calculator, the choice is theirs.

What will be included this year?

“We really want to make sure we are giving all children the chance to succeed. School supplies seem like a small gesture but if you don’t have them, how can you possibly keep up with your peers? Breaking down barriers is so important and helps to break the cycle of poverty.” – Frances Hallworth, Executive Director

We need your help to ensure that all 2,000+ kids who need supplies, will have access to them. Sponsor a child for $25 today.

If you are interested in sponsoring this years’ School Supplies Program or would like more information, please contact Tanya Faulkner at You can also make a secure online donation through our PORTAL, note: “school supplies”.


Supplies will be distributed through schools and agency partners. If you are in need of supplies, please call 211 to find the agency or partner nearest you.