A campaign that aims to help Lethbridge families as they stock up on back-to-school supplies is seeing demand skyrocket ahead of the 2022-2023 school year.
MyCityCare has put on the Stuff the Bus program for the last five years. Director Jen Tribble says they normally see about 700 kids registered to receive backpacks full of school supplies, but this year demand for the program has more than doubled.
“We’ve been seeing a dramatic increase this year in registrations that are coming in for the program,” Tribble said. “This year we actually have over 1,500 registrations for kids and families that are accessing that support.”
Families that register for Stuff the Bus will receive a backpack full of grade- and age-specific school supplies for their child that can be picked up at a Ready, Set, Go! event — three of which are scheduled for this week. The events feature other community partners, including Lethbridge Family Services, the Lethbridge Interfaith Foodbank, Lethbridge Foodbank and YMCA, as well as the Lethbridge School Division and Holy Spirit Catholic School Division.
MyCityCare is still seeking donations to meet demand for Stuff the Bus and beyond.
“We need about 250 more backpacks and physical donations,” Tribble said. “It would be great to have monetary donations to fill in gaps in needs as they arrive.”
Tribble added that it’s not just school supplies where the demand is being felt.
“We’ve definitely seen an increase of families struggling even with the basic necessities: shoes, different types of supports this year — on top of the school supplies,” she said.
“So what we’ve actually had is more families connected to our office downtown needing things like clothing, hygiene products and different types of items just to support them for the back-to-school season.”
Ready, Set, Go! pickup days are as follows, between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. this week:
- Aug. 23 at the YMCA (74 Mauretania Rd. W.);
- Aug. 24 at Westminster Hall (411 16 St. N.);
- Aug. 25 at the Multicultural Centre (421 6 Ave. S.).
Tribble said MyCityCare plans to continue past this week with assisting families.
“We’ve actually started a waitlist for backpacks and school supplies, so we’ve cut off the registrations for these three days and then we’re going to have a waitlist going into September,” she said.
“So families can still contact us. We’ll do what we can to meet that need into September, and as long as we have donations in, we will keep giving them out.”
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