Marty Howe rubs girlfriend Maria Lee’s clean-shaven head. Lee had her head shaved as part of a Coastal Community Credit Union event that assisted the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation’s Stock the Lockers campaign on Thursday

Marty Howe rubs girlfriend Maria Lee’s clean-shaven head. Lee had her head shaved as part of a Coastal Community Credit Union event that assisted the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation’s Stock the Lockers campaign on Thursday

Stock the Lockers organizers happy with campaign despite missing goal

NANAIMO – 2013 Stock the Lockers campaign fell short of its $50,000 goal but still raised about $30,000.

While the 2013 Stock the Lockers campaign fell short of its $50,000 goal, officials with the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation are still happy with the estimated $30,000 raised.

The program, which began on Aug. 15 and ended Thursday, provides school supplies and lunch and breakfast to students in need.

Foundation executive director Erin van Steen said there are a number of reasons for the drop.

“There are several issues. One of our big issues is there’s been some changes with the gaming policies and procedures, so we’re probably down $10,000 to $15,000 just in that alone but we hope to be working with the gaming commission and change that around for next year,” van Steen said.

“It’s just a sign of the times. I think we have the same amount of donations coming in, people just aren’t able to donate as much as what they did in previous years,” she said.

“But $30,000 is amazing in three weeks and it will certainly get us the school supplies we need for the kids and it will put the student support fund money in all of our schools. We’ll be able to meet the needs this year.”

She said the foundation’s fundraising doesn’t just take place during the three weeks of the Stock the Lockers campaign; it’s year-round.

Nanaimo normally ranks high on lists of child poverty, although van Steen said there has been a slight improvement.

“It’s always been that way. Nanaimo used to be within the Top-3 for years and years and years and B.C. used to be No. 1 for child poverty, so the numbers have changed a little bit, we’re within the Top-15 now, so that’s certainly an improvement with us but it’s still very significant in our schools when you’re looking at feeding kids and school supplies for kids and having them partake in activities with all the other kids,” van Steen said. “We still feel it.”

Foundation president Patrick Ross said because of the number of students dealing with poverty, the Stock the Lockers program can give needy students a leg up.

“We know that there is a correlation between financial success and academic success, so the more we can support kids who are coming from financially-stressed families, the better they can do in school, that’s what I believe anyway,” Ross said.

The campaign, which began in 2009, has raised $140,000, which has gone toward the foundation’s Student Support Fund.