Back-to-school needs grow in Greater Victoria

The costs of pens and pencils, binders and paper come at the expense of food on the table

The back-to-school ritual is in full swing, as parents rush to shopping malls and office supply stores to start their kids off on the right foot.

But for hundreds of Greater Victoria families, the costs of pens and pencils, binders and paper – not to mention new clothing – come at the expense of food on the table.

“We did some rough calculations about how much it costs a parent to get their child ready for school simply with supplies, and it’s about $70 for elementary and about $100 for high school,” said Cheryl Dyck, volunteer co-ordinator at the Single Parent Family Resource Centre.

Dyck and her team partnered with Staples last week to stuff more than 250 backpacks with back-to-school goodies for families in need, and said she still had to refer parents to other non-profit organizations offering similar programs.

“People are living pretty close to the bone in this expensive region, so anytime there’s an extra expense like school or Christmas or birthdays, we can help with that,” Dyck said. “But the need is really high.”

Another 500 children were helped out by the Mustard Seed’s fair start program, which has been running for 16 years and has seen a steady increase in usage, said Jackie Cox-Ziegler, director of administration.

“We stayed open into the evening this year,” she said. “There were huge line-ups in the morning when the doors opened, but it was a really good way to support many of our working poor families.”

Cox-Zeigler said the Mustard Seed food bank is always in need of more donations.

The Salvation Army’s Stan Hagen Centre for Families has already provided nearly 200 children with school supplies this summer, and organizers are hoping for enough cash donations to help at least another 50 families in the coming weeks, said Sipili Molia, community relations co-ordinator.

“The public has responded big time already, but we could always use more,” Molia said.

Depending on the grade each child is entering, helpful donations also include backpacks, pencil cases, lunch bags, lined paper, pens, glue sticks, pencil crayons, notebooks and binders.

For more information or to donate, call Stan Hagen Centre for Families at 250-386-8521.

 

dpalmer@vicnews.com

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using piece made at Kennametal’s Langford site

The Greater Victoria plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

A provincially appointed consultant has recommended a change to the funding formula for the VicPD that will save Esquimalt a significant amount of money. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt to save a bundle on policing costs under new formula

Provincial consultant studied funding model, resource deployment for VicPD

A rockfall closed Finlayson Arm Road and West Shore Parkway on Friday (March 5) afternoon. (Twitter/BC Transportation)
UPDATED: Malahat reopens following rockfall

Section of Trans-Canada Highway was scheduled for intermittent closures today for rock scaling work

A Victoria resident was scammed out of $1,700 after a fraudster impersonated a police officer and convinced the victim to pay a non-existent fine in Bitcoin. (Unsplash)
Fraudster impersonates Victoria police officer, steals $1,700 in Bitcoin

Phone call showed up as VicPD’s non-emergency line

The Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
Tsartlip First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA revealed COVID-19 outbreak

Chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA Adam Olsen apologizes

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

Most Read