The Estevan Salvation Army and Staples in Estevan are partnering for the second straight year on the Back to School Supply Drive, which will provide school supplies to local children from low-income families.
Estevan Staples general manager Joan Rittenhouse and Salvation Army Lieutenant Brian Bobolo said donations that are made locally will stay in the region.
Staples is asking customers to donate money through the store. It will then be converted to gift cards.
"The gift cards will be given to Brian, and then Brian, through applications, will determine which families will receive the gift cards," said Rittenhouse.
If people want to donate merchandise, Rittenhouse said the items will be taken to the Salvation Army, who will then allocate them to parents.
Donations that are made on-line will be distributed throughout Canada, so Rittenhouse urges people to make their donations through the Estevan store.
Bobolo said that the Salvation Army will protect the identity of the applicants.
"Once we receive the gift cards from Staples, we will divvy them up, according to the number of children, and the grades (they are in), and all that, so that families can then, in turn, come and buy their needed school supplies for their children here at Staples."
Last year the Salvation Army distributed more than $2,500 in gift cards to local families, Bobolo said. An estimated 60 to 65 children benefitted.
"We did actually call back afterwards to the families to see how they were doing, and they said it worked out quite fine for them, so we're pleased that the program was a success," said Bobolo.
Bobolo said they would like to exceed last year's figures.
Individuals who benefit from the program typically select such supplies as pens, pencils, erasers and zipper binders. It's not uncommon for parents to spend $300 or $400 in school supplies on a couple children, Rittenhouse said, so they see the campaign's benefits.
While this is just the second year that Staples and the Salvation Army have partnered together in Estevan, Rittenhouse said they have been collaborating across Canada for more than 15 years.
A couple of fundraising events will be happening to bolster the campaign. A barbecue will be on Saturday, August 23, and a bake sale will occur a week later. Both events will be at Staples.