Charity giving backpacks of school supplies to children
Published Tuesday, August 15, 2017 1:08PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 15, 2017 7:00PM EDT
Thousands of schoolchildren will be heading back to school with new shoes and school supplies courtesy of the Welcome Hall Mission.
The charity has collected enough material to hand out backpacks laden with pens, pencils, notebooks, and more to 2,600 children, and is giving out those items on Tuesday and Wednesday.
CEO Sam Watts estimates the Welcome Hall Mission collected $350,000 in cash and donations in kind to assemble and distribute the gear.
"It's the 16th time we've done it. And it's to help kids as they go back to school feel like they can go back with their head held high," said Watts.
The charity also assists children throughout the school year by offering tutoring programs, summer camps, and other events.
Some of the help provided is specifically for children with learning disabilities, or for children whose parents are struggling in English or French.
Watts said they are donating more backpacks than usual.
"We're hearing about people crossing the border and those kids are going to need to go to school too, so we're going to need to supply a lot of school bags and supplies -- but we're ready!" he said.
Syrian refugee Mouaid Almarzoki came to the event to volunteer.
"This is what Canadians are for. This is what Canadians are all about. I'm a new Canadian so I'm so proud to be here," he said.
A newcomer to Montreal, Gerardo Mancini said the event helped give his family a bit of a boost.
"They feed us, they make us happy, they make us feel good, and we are very thankful for that, very grateful," he said.
The backpacks are only handed out to children whose families have registered in advance.