Campaign for needy students unable to meet goal

The Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation fell short of its goal to raise $60,000 to help underprivileged students through the Stock the Lockers campaign.

The Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation fell short of its goal to raise $60,000 to help underprivileged students through the Stock the Lockers campaign.

The effort, a partnership between the foundation and Staples Business Depot, raised $37,756.86 – about $10,000 less than last year.

But foundation executive director Erin van Steen said she’s happy, given the current economic challenges.

“It’s enough to get us going in schools,” she said. “It’s going to be a challenging year for us, no denying that. It means we have to work that much harder this year.”

Van Steen still holds out hope the campaign will pull in some more dollars – the postal strike meant the mailouts to service clubs didn’t get sent until the summer, when most groups do not meet. Several organizations have since told her donations might be forthcoming, so the foundation extended the campaign period until October.

“Hopefully we’ll raise more,” she said.

About $20,000 will go toward school supplies. The remainder goes into the foundation’s student support fund, which gives money to schools for bus passes, clothing, food vouchers, sports program fees and other items for needy students.

Van Steen said last year, the foundation distributed about $40,000 to schools to help keep underprivileged students in school and that was on top of about $20,000 worth of school supplies it distributed.

She expects a long road ahead to ensure a similar amount goes to schools this year. The foundation also had to postpone its payroll contribution campaign, because teachers are not participating in staff meetings due to union job action.

During the campaign, which ran from Aug. 16 to Sept. 6, Staples took donations at the checkout and Coastal Community Credit Union also accepted donations on behalf of the foundation, raising $1,500. Media sponsors Black Press and Island Radio spread the word to the community.

Fundraising events go on year-round for the foundation, added van Steen, and individuals or businesses can make a donation at any time of the year as well.

To make a donation, please go to www.nlsf.ca or call the foundation office at 250-753-4074.