Seems summer has barely begun when suddenly there are flyers and commercials on TV promoting Back to School Sales. Families in homes throughout Okotoks are reluctantly starting to think about hitting the books again in just a few weeks.
However, the cost for kids to go back to school is always a concern for some parents and even more so this year. That’s why the Okotoks Family Resource Centreoffers assistance to families with school-aged children, in partnership with office supply retailer Staples.
During the school supply drive, Staples collects donations from the public and puts them towards gift cards which are then donated to the resource centre. The gift cards are valued at $65. The program has been going on in Okotoks for the last five years.
Cash donations from Staples customers at the till started coming in earlier this month. Last year, $3,000 was collected although it had a goal of $5,000. This year Staples raised the bar and because of the current economy hopes to collet $7,000 because the need is anticipated to be much greater. So far in the first two weeks’ donations are looking good and well ahead of last year. Some people chip in loose change from purchases while others are upping their cash donations to $50 which nearly covers the cost of one gift card for a deserving family.
Despite being a National chain, each Staples outlet collects for local families. The Okotoks Family Resource Centre will soon have their gift cards which will be distributed to families who qualify. Families are pre-approved for funding through the agency.
Last year, 159 children were helped with school supplies. This year, only elementary children from K- Grade 6 will be offered gift cards.
Parents with elementary-aged children who attend schools where supplies are provided may be eligible to receive $65 towards the payment of school fees in lieu of the gift cards.
How to Sign Up
Okotoks parents wishing to take advantage of this program can apply online with the Okotoks Family Resource Centre or they can stop by the office, which is located in Okotoks Urgent Care. Parents must provide some sort of documentation to prove the level of family income in order to indicate that help with school supplies is needed. For example, a family of four people are allowed an annual maximum income of $45,400. In the case of single parents with a single child, the threshold is $30,500 which includes child or other support from a spouse. Government funds or allowances don’t count.
How to Donate
Okotoks residents eager to support this program who would rather donate directly to the resource centre for a tax receipt can do so at the office in the Urgent Care Centre. Organizers have indicated that due to layoffs in our province, the Okotoks Family Resource Centre has blindly set a goal of $7,000 not fully knowing what the need really is this year.
The deadline to apply is August 26, 2016 and for donations will be taken at Staples until September 11, 2016.