Royal Bank donates $10,000 to LFC back-to-school program
© Bonnie Learning photo
The Happy Valley-Goose Bay Royal Bank Branch donated $10,000 for the second year in a row, to help fill school backpacks for kids who needed a hand with their back-to-school supplies. Today, Branch Manager Jay Fawcett presented the cheque to Hope Sheppard, Community Outreach Worker with the Labrador Friendship Centre, who organized the back-to-school backpack drive. Staff of the Royal Bank lent a hand with the organizing and packing.
Some 108 deserving kids in the Happy Valley-Goose Bay area will be going to school this fall with everything they need to start off the school year, thanks to some very helpful and generous people.
“We had requests for 108 backpacks this year, and we filled them this morning so they will be ready for pick up this afternoon,” said Hope Sheppard, Community Outreach Worker at the Labrador Friendship Centre (LFC).
“The supply lists for each grade — from kindergarten to Level III — was provided online, and everything was bought locally, from pencils to markers and everything in between.”
Helping purchase all those supplies was made possible from a very generous donation from the Happy Valley-Goose Bay Royal Bank branch. For the second year in a row, they contributed $10,000 to the very worthwhile cause.
“We have been involved with this program for a few years now, and this is the second time we have been able to donate $10,000, which is phenomenal for a market this size,” said Jay Fawcett, Branch Manager.
“We just got recently got word that the money was approved from our commercial accounts manager, Mike Spurrell, who has been involved with this for many years as well, so we got moving quickly to get all the supplies purchased.”
Fawcett said Royal Bank helps programs like this across the country.
“It’s amazing to give to the community in this way,” he said. “It feels great being able to help out a family provide everything they need for their kids to start off the school year.”
The supply lists for school children are long and can be costly, added Sheppard, who says for families with several children, it can be tough to keep up.
“If you have a family with two parents working minimum wage jobs, and they have three or four kids to get ready for school, money can be tight,” she said.
“By availing of this program, single-income, low-income and single-parent households can use the money saved on school supplies to go towards other back-to-school items, like new clothes and shoes.”
Sheppard explained the LFC advertises their program a few weeks prior to the start of the school year via local media, and those who need some extra help then contact them.
“The average cost of a backpack with all the supplies is anywhere from $80 – $150, depending on the grade and the supplies they require,” she noted.
“For example, the smaller primary kids are required to have boxes of tissues, Ziploc bags, disposable wipes and things like that, in addition to their markers, pencils, notebooks and so on.
“Also, this year with the older grades, they are required to have water bottles and ear bud earphones this year, which is new, in addition to all their regular supplies.”
Sheppard added it was also a nice to be able to purchase different style backpacks this year
“It’s important that the kids feel like they have the same kind of stuff as the other children,” she said, pointing out the various Disney-themed and other brand-name bags around.
“We could have easily bought a bulk supply of black backpacks, for example, but we wanted a variety of styles for the kids.”
Sheppard said she is very appreciative of the support from the Royal Bank again this year.
“We started this program about six or seven years ago, and in order to get the supplies, we would put a call out to the general public to pick up an extra pack of markers or notebooks or whatever, when they were out shopping for their own kids back-to-school supplies,” she explained.
“But this donation helps us out immensely and makes things that much easier to organize.”