backpacks2020 270For over 16 years, the United Way of Bruce Grey Backpack Program has been providing fully stocked backpacks to children of low income families. Thanks to the generosity of their donors, the organization has distributed over 25,000 backpacks to children in need.

This year, due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, they expect the need to be even greater and they are asking for the community’s help to meet the higher demand for the 2020/2021 school year. Already, the organization is seeing a large surge in agency requests for backpacks and they are expecting the overall numbers to reach a record high of 4,000 backpacks.

There are three ways for the community to get involved and directly make a difference to local children in need. The public may:

1. Give a financial gift.

Financial donations enable the organization to buy even more supplies as they are able to purchase them on a wholesale basis. To donate to the program through Canada Helps, donors may visit or call 519-376-1560. Donations by cheque may be mailed to: United Way of Bruce Grey, 380 9th Street East, Owen Sound, ON, N4K 1P1.

2. Donate school supplies.

The UWBG would appreciate the donation of school supplies (name brand if possible). To take part, the public may drop off supplies at Heritage Place Mall in Owen Sound (look for the white picket fence in front of the Canadian Shoe Outlet). Donations may be dropped off until August 10. (Please see attached 'Wish List' to find out what supplies are required).

3. Take part in their Annual 'Stuff The Bus' event.

This event is an opportunity for the public to give back to their community by donating school supplies or by making a financial donation to the program. The event will take place August 20 – 22 at Staples, located at 1077 10th Street West (Sunset Strip) in Owen Sound. The hours will follow that of the Staples store.

Backpack Co-ordinator Sarah Raynsford attributes the past success of the program to strong community support and the generosity of their donors and volunteers. “Many families depend on this program to supply their children with the supplies they need. With preliminary numbers showing a large increase, we would really appreciate the support of the community to ensure the success of the program and to make sure every child has what they need when they return to school in the fall,” said Raynsford.

For more information about the Backpack Program, please visit or call 519-376-1560.

If families would like to access the Backpack Program, they can call 211 to register.