The non-profit aiding Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is making a push to ensure vulnerable students can focus strictly on learning this year.
Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation’s Stock the Lockers campaign has begun in the lead-up to September, accepting donations until Aug. 31 with a target of $50,000. Money raised will be spent on items including school supplies and meals for children in need.
Crystal Dennison, the foundation’s executive director, said money raised also goes toward other less-obvious needs, like fees for graduation, athletics and field trips, clothing and running shoes.
“Also there’s been a couple of instances where we’ve had emergency medical [costs], either prescriptions or emergency medical support or emergency dental support … same thing with eyeglasses,” Dennison said. “Sometimes there’s families where the kids don’t fit with the supports that are available necessarily, so we kind of fill in the gaps if there is no other option for the student.”
In addition, increased costs coming about from inflation are making it harder for people to get by, according to Dennison.
“I think just in general there’s more need for families, and particularly families that have children that are school aged and multiple children that are attending school,” she said. “There’s definitely extra costs involved and so I think it’s harder on a lot more families than it’s been. The cost of groceries has gone up and the cost of living has gone up and so that leaves families short.”
Approximately $42,000 was raised last year. In all, the foundation assisted with hundreds of school supplies, more than 2,000 meals and $575,000 in the 2022-23 school year.
Donations can be made online, by mail and at Coastal Community Credit Union and Country Grocer locations in Nanaimo, Ladysmith and Gabriola Island.
For more information, visit www.nlsf.ca.