Back to school: Aid agencies need to rethink their approach

Back to school: aid agencies need to rethink their approach

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Aid organizations are feeling the brunt of the phenomenon of inflation in the price of school supplies.

At Sun Youth, which works on the island of Montreal, the number of children we can help was quickly reached.

“Usually, we take the names of the 1000 children from the end of the classes and we continue to record in August. But this year, by the end of July, we were sold out,” says organization spokesperson Eric Kingsley.

“There will be fewer items in our bags,” adds -t-he.

The Société Saint-Vincent-de-Paul's Opération Bonne Mine, in the Haut-Richelieu region, which annually distributes around 450 bags containing school materials, is already revising its plans for next year due to the costs.

“L’Aubainerie gives us the bags for free in return for a $30 gift certificate. The owner told me that he is not sure he will be able to provide me with as many next year at the price they are at. For the material, we have an agreement with the Coop School of Cégep de Saint-Jean. They advised me of a substantial increase,” notes Yvan Ouellet.

New model

Given also that the schools have not all the same requirements for the material, he is thinking of offering the supplies on tables next year so that parents can choose according to their needs, while inviting them to reuse their bag. 

“&nbsp ;We hope to save costs, but it will be more work,” said Mr. Ouellet.

In Quebec, financial assistance from Bonne Mine is distributed directly by schools. “We are helping more than 2,000 young people from 400 schools in the Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches region, to whom more than a hundred thousand dollars are given, approximately $50 per child. Schools are in the best position to find out which families have needs,” says Jean-Luc Lavoie, president of the Society in Quebec City.

“With rising costs, our power to support schools is obviously less. We are wondering if we should not increase this allowance,” he admits.

The Maman Dion Foundation, which works throughout Quebec, has, for its part, managed to make 800  happy this year. 

Previously, the foundation donated a full bag and clothes, with a total value of $250 to $300. The pandemic forced the Foundation to halt its bag filling activity and reduced fundraising activities.

Back to school: Aid agencies need to rethink their approach

Back to school: aid agencies need to rethink their approach

Maps gifts

“Since last year, we have been giving away a $150 gift card at Hamster and $50 at Aubainerie,” says Claudette Dion, General Manager of the organization created by his mother.

The organization has “revisited the lists of school effects” to make sure not to offer more and thus help as many young people as possible, depending on the money available.

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