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Greater Victoria parent resource centre sees spike in kids needing school supplies

Pencil crayons are on every teacher’s supply list
Yasmine Nijjar, member service coordinator at the 1Up Single Parent Resource Centre, fills backpacks to get kids ready for school. (Courtesy 1Up Single Parent Resource Centre)

Every week Yasmine Nijjar buys pencil crayons.

It’s one very small part of her role as member service coordinator at the 1Up Single Parent Resource Centre. The coloured pencils fill out school supply needs for kids across Greater Victoria.

Turns out they’re the one thing on every teacher’s supply list. Nijjar knows, she’s checked teacher lists for every kid registered with the centre’s Back-to-School Supply Program.

This year, that number is far higher.

“We’ve seen overall an influx of new members in general,” Nijjar said.

Last year the school supplies program supported about 150 families or roughly 350 kids. So far this year, they had 165 families registered with two weeks left in August. Those two weeks, and the first two in September, tend to be when other families in need find them, through other resources or word of mouth. She expects that will mean at least another 100 kids in need of school supplies.

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Having the tools required in the classroom removes limits on kids, allowing them to achieve whatever they want to achieve, Nijjar said. School supplies are the first step.

“I didn’t come from a single-parent family but I did come from an immigrant family and it sucked to go into class and everyone had everything,” she said.

“You just want to fit in. We do our best to make that possible.”

The organization puts together the kits for kids attending kindergarten through Grade 12 and is funded entirely by local donors, with big help from Saanich Baptist Church. Funding allows the centre to purchase pencil crayons, markers, pens, notebooks, calculators and other essentials that schools require. Monetary donations are best, to fill gaps where needed. Otherwise, Nijjar will never say no to pencil crayons.

Donations can be made online at or call the 1Up Single Parent Resource Centre 250-385-1114 for guidance.

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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