350 students in the Kenora area will be getting some help from the salvation army this school year.  

In a press release from the Salvation Army, the organization announced that they will be distributing 350 backpacks full of needed supplies to students from eight Kenora schools.  

The backpacks will each contain a reusable water bottle, thermal lunch kit, and other school necessities. 

Sandra Poole, community ministries director for The Salvation Army in Kenora says that the need for school supplies is apparent every fall.  

“Every year we have people looking for school backpacks and supplies because they just can’t financially buy those extra items.” 

Planning for this new program began back in January, with funding being set aside for the idea. With collaboration from the schools in the area, Poole was able to determine which items were most needed in students' backpacks.  

School teacher Justin Kakis offered his input as an educator that sees the issues firsthand, “As an educator, to see kids come to school not having what they need is really difficult.”  

“We’re in a situation where you don’t want to leave parents, guardians, and/or students feeling uncomfortable by overstepping and pointing out that sort of thing.” 

Kakis stated that students and their families don’t want their needs pointed out or spotlighted and that’s why a program distributed by the schools is ideal. The school can identify the need and assist without drawing additional attention. 

“When you have an indirect way, like The Salvation Army, coming in and making those donations, I think it makes it a little easier and boosts our morale as educators to see then that we have students that are fully supplied and ready for the year,” added Kakis 

“When you support a Salvation Army backpack program, you encourage the youth of today. Child poverty in Northwestern Ontario is high. If we can alleviate even part of that, it takes the pressure off the students, parents and teachers,” concluded Poole.