Parents know that sending kids back to school can come with a hefty price tag for new clothes, school supplies and activity fees. For low-income parents, however, these additional costs are often beyond their means.

Before the bell rings on day one of the new school year in September, the Halton Learning Foundation (HLF) will have already fielded more than a dozen requests to support students of the Halton District School Board (HDSB) who face financial barriers to their education.

“Clothing, lunches and school supplies are the most requested items at the beginning of the school year,” says Lesley Mansfield, executive director of the Halton Learning Foundation.

Annually, funds from HLF support these basic necessities, as well as school transportation, field trips and school activities for over 1,100 financially vulnerable HDSB students.

Without some financial support many of these kids risk being left out or left behind in learning, says Mansfield, such as the teenager whose single parent died of cancer, leaving her alone to raise a younger sibling.

“The Grade 12 student had a part-time job and some insurance money, but was struggling to pay for winter clothing for herself and her sister,” Mansfield says. “Without a helping hand, she might have dropped out of school to pay for these necessities.

“We provide emergency funds to get students and their families past an immediate crisis, help keep kids in class and allow them to have the same learning opportunities as their peers.”

HLF’s Back to School fundraising campaign aims to raise $40,000 by September 30 to ensure students in our community have the supplies they need to start the school year on the right foot.

To donate $20 now text BACKPACK03 to 20222 before September 30, or visit our donation page.