Creating Success in the Classroom – One Pack at a Time

The Ottawa Community Housing Foundation held its annual Pack a Sack campaign during the August and September months in Scotiabank and Staples locations across Ottawa. This campaign marks the third year for the scholastic initiative, having provided over 1,500 backpacks since 2014.

Over 30 Scotiabank branches as well as Staples’ downtown Bank Street and South Keys locations in Ottawa joined forces to raise funds to purchase school supply filled backpacks for children living in low-income neighbourhoods. When the campaign closed, over $22,000 had been raised and 455 backpacks had been distributed.

Howard Whittaker, the OCH Foundation’s Executive Director, was impressed at the community’s generosity during the Pack a Sack campaign. “The enthusiasm local businesses have for Pack a Sack has grown steadily every year,” explained Whittaker. “Staples and Scotiabank have done a great job as champions for the campaign but it is those who donate who truly deserve recognition. Because of their generosity, children in low-income communities are going to school equipped to learn.”

The Caring and Sharing Exchange, a local charity that provides assistance to Ottawa families and individuals in need during the Christmas season and the back-to-school season, is a well sought after organization during the August and September months. In 2016, they distributed over 2,000 supply-filled backpacks to children and youth. The OCH Foundation was able to help by filling nearly 25% of the order, distributing 455 packs to 7 different community houses in Ottawa Community Housing.

“Pack a Sack is a great program that helps a lot of children get ahead in their education – children that otherwise may not have the means,” explained Graham Yeadon, General Manager at Staples’ South Keys location. “Not only are hundreds of children and youth assisted annually, the supply-filled packs are geared specifically to fit the needs of three distinct age groups. The packs are distributed to those in Kindergarten (5 years old), grades 1-3 (6-8 years old), and grades 4-8 (9-12).”

Watch for Pack a Sack in Scotiabank and Staples locations near you during the back-to-school season. With your donations, children and youth living in low-income communities show up on that first day of school with the supplies they need to succeed in the classroom – everything from markers for the aspiring artist, to pencils for the intrepid writer, to running shoes for budding athletes, to the bag that holds it all.

With a focus on education, employment and community engagement, the Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) Foundation brings together community leaders to help families, seniors, and individuals achieve personal success.