Stock the Lockers drive begins

NANAIMO - Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation kicked off the fifth annual Stock the Lockers campaign Thursday.

Annika van Steen

Annika van Steen

Despite uncertainty for the start of the school year due to the province-teachers’ labour dispute, the 2014 Stock the Lockers fundraising campaign kicked off Thursday.

The Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation launched its fifth annual campaign, which aims to raise $50,000 by Sept. 4 to help underprivileged children with school supplies and meals, even though the strike, which began in June, could drag into September.

“[Stock the Lockers] goes on regardless,” said Erin van Steen, foundation executive director. “These kids are going to still come to school one day, I don’t know when that is, but they’ll be back to school and we need to be ready for it.”

Dot Neary, school board chairwoman, echoed van Steen’s sentiments and said it is difficult to predict if the strike would affect the campaign but it has been beneficial to the many needy students across the school district.

“We have a really high proportion of children that come from low income families that are either at or below the poverty line and for those families, often it’s a struggle just to keep a roof over their heads, put food on the table, provide the necessities, so school equipment and supplies are not necessarily a priority for them.

“But for the children it’s a priority. They need or want to go to school with the same supplies that every other kid arrives with,” said Neary.

Money raised also goes toward various fees, scholarships and bursaries. About $38,000 was raised last year.

For more information or to donate, please call 250-753-4074 or visit Nanaimo area Staples stores and Coastal Community Credit Union branches are also accepting donations.