Crystal Dennison, Nanaimo Ladysmith Schools Foundation executive director, hopes people will support this year’s Stock the Lockers fundraiser, which continues until Aug. 31. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

Stock the Lockers drive for vulnerable students in Nanaimo begins

Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation exec says students need support leading up to fall semester

COVID-19 is affecting back-to-school planning, but a campaign to raise money and collect supplies for vulnerable students across Nanaimo-Ladysmith is as important as ever.

While specific details have yet to be announced, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ students will be returning full-time in September. Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation’s Stock the Lockers drive officially started yesterday, Aug. 1, and donations will be accepted until Aug. 31, with a fundraising target of $50,000.

Coronavirus temporarily halted in-class instruction in March and it remains to be seen how the pandemic will affect fundraising, said Crystal Dennison, foundation executive director.

“Everybody’s really uncertain around … what the structure of the school’s going to look like, how it’s going to affect families and staff at the schools and teachers, but what we do know is there’s still students that are going to be needing our support,” said Dennison.”So we’re doing what we can to make sure that we raise funds to allow them their basic school supplies and running shoes and the same supports that we always have.”

The foundation distributed food hampers to students who couldn’t access meal programs during the COVID-19 school stoppage, and that will continue for the foreseeable future, Dennison said.

RELATED: SD68 students back to school, full-time, in ‘learning groups’

“Even for August, we are still providing hampers to families, part of the Food for Schools program,” said Dennison. “We’re not doing home delivery, but we are doing contactless pickup for families at schools throughout the district and we’re looking at, with the return of school and the planning that is going on right now, how we will be continuing to support families.”

RELATED: NLSF looks for ways to feed students during pandemic

In addition to food and school supplies, money donated will go toward running shoes, medical or eyeglass needs and incidentals such as athletic, field trip and graduation fees.

People can make a donation at Staples and Country Grocer locations in Nanaimo as well as Coastal Community Credit Union locations, including one on Gabriola Island.

Stock the Lockers raised $42,000 in 2019, according to Dennison.

For more information, or to donate online, please go to

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