OCH Foundation and Partner Khalsa Aid to Pack and Distribute up to 700 Backpacks

Monday, August 8, 2022 — Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) Foundation staff and 50 volunteers from Khalsa Aid Canada are helping to ensure OCH youth are ready for school this September. On Aug. 10, everyone will come together for a Pack-a-Sack event to pack up to 700 backpacks with school supplies for children and youth living in Ottawa Community Housing neighbourhoods.

Khalsa Aid will be making a $15,000 donation of school supplies to support the OCH Foundation’s Pack-a-Sack program. The OCH Foundation Pack-a-Sack program is run with the support of the Charing and Sharing Exchange and distributed through the Coalition of Community Houses. Each year, the program equips hundreds of children and youth with important back-to-school supplies. A typical back-to-school kit includes a quality backpack, pens, pencils, markers, crayons, scissors, geometry sets and other items that are grade dependent. Since its inception 2014, the Pack-a-Sack program has outfitted more than 4,000 children with backpacks.

WHEN: Wednesday, August 10th, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: 33 Quill Street, Ottawa, Ontario

WHAT: The OCH Foundation staff and 50 volunteers from Khalsa Aid Canada will pack backpacks with school supplies for children and youth living in our OCH communities.

WHO: Partners organizations include Ottawa Community Housing Foundation, Khalsa Aid Canada, Caring and Sharing Exchange, Ottawa Community Housing Corporation and the Coalition of Community Houses – each organization will be on site to welcome the volunteers.

PHOTO-OP: Media are welcome to attend this event. The best time for a photo is 4:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.



“Preparing for back to school can be an incredible source of stress for families. Costs quickly add up when purchasing school supplies and clothing for growing children. We are grateful for our partners who have donated to the program and for the generous support from Khalsa Aid Canada. The volunteers who are giving their time to ensure all these backpacks are filled with supplies and distributed to the families are making an incredible impact on our community.”

– Angela Bégin, Executive Director of the OCH Foundation

“Khalsa Aid Canada are pleased to partner with OCH Foundation to support the Pack-a-Sack program and provide back to school supplies for children and youth living in Ottawa Community Housing. We are committed to the health and well-being of our communities and are inspired by the Sikh principle of “Recognize the whole human race as one”.

Mandeep Singh, Regional Director of Khalsa Aid, Ottawa Chapter

Quick Facts:

· In 2021, we provided over $20,000 worth of school supplies to be distributed to families living in OCH. That amounts to approximately 400 young people supported.

· Challenges related to COVID-19 have increased demand for back-to-school support.

· The Ottawa Carleton District School Board reports more than 2,500 children in Ottawa return to school every September without proper supplies.

· In 2021, more than 750 requests for back-to-school support were received from families living in Ottawa Community Housing. Our goal in 2022 is to support all requests for assistance.

· The Ottawa Community Housing Foundation’s Pack-a-Sack program has supported more than 4,000 children and youth living in OCH neighbourhoods since 2014.

· The average cost to outfit a child with a backpack and essential school supplies is approximately $65.

About OCH Foundation

The Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) Foundation exists to enhance the health and social-well-being of over 32,000 tenants living in OCH: Ottawa’s largest social housing provider. OCH Foundation is a partner for effecting immediate change and building a healthy, inclusive and vibrant community. We connect tenants to programs and services that improve individual, family and community well-being under the following organizational priority areas: Education, Employment and Community Engagement.

About Khalsa Aid

Khalsa Aid is an international humanitarian aid organization. Since 1999, Khalsa Aid has been able to provide crucial aid to millions of people around the world: including the homeless, refugees, and victims of war, natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and famine. Khalsa Aid now has operations across the world.

About Caring and Sharing Exchange

The Caring and Sharing Exchange is a local charity that provides assistance to Ottawa families and individuals in need, during the Christmas season and the back-to-school season. They are committed to providing our neighbours with relief and dignity in the most fair and efficient way possible and helping to build a caring community where individuals and families receive the coordinated support they need.


For more information, please contact:

Briar Gornall: Communications and Engagement Coordinator/ OCH Foundation