Stock the lockers campaign helps students cover costs of school supplies

From now through September, customers at Staples can give at the till, or donate particular items of need at any of the three locations in Greater Victoria at 747 Fort St. downtown, 780 Tolmie Ave. in Saanich and 789 McCallum Dr. in Langford.

The best part about raising funds to buy school supplies for students in-need is what happens once the money is spent.

Bobbi Balshaw, business support manager at the Millstream Staples Business Depot has been involved with the Stock the Lockers school supply drive since it was first held on the South Island three years ago.

Her reward, she says, is sharing the moment when teachers and student representatives pick up their gift cards and shop for the students who wouldn’t otherwise have supplies for the upcoming school year.

“When they’ve got three or four shopping carts of stuff and they’re almost in tears, it’s pretty exciting,” Balshaw said.

From now through September, customers at Staples can give at the till, or donate particular items of need at any of the three locations in Greater Victoria at 747 Fort St. downtown, 780 Tolmie Ave. in Saanich and 789 McCallum Dr. in Langford.

B.C. is the frontrunner in the national campaign, started in Nanaimo in 2007.

Last year, Victoria Staples stores raised $15,000 for the cause. For 2011, they’ve upped their goal to $25,000.

“This year, we’re reaching out further,” Balshaw said.

To help get there faster, the team has organized a family fundraiser that is set to take over the parking lot of the Millstream location on Aug. 27. The event runs from 11 a.m. to  4 p.m. and includes a barbecue, dunk tank and raffle.

One hundred per cent of the donations go toward the supplies without any administration costs, allowing the business to stretch donations as far as possible.

“We want to get it out there that there are a lot of kids that just can’t afford school supplies,” Balshaw added.

Stock the Lockers is aided by local branches of the Royal Canadian Legion and supports students at schools throughout Greater Victoria and elsewhere on the Island.

Families in need of supplies may submit their names to the principal of each school who will then pass that information along to Staples.

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