Impact of pandemic expected to increase need for school supplies

Posted On Tuesday July 14, 2020

The lingering financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to cause increased demand for backpacks and school supplies among students in need when Thames Valley schools re-open in September.

To meet the need, the Thames Valley Education Foundation (TVEF), United Way Elgin Middlesex, and the Salvation Army will be hard at work this summer preparing to support students through the community-wide Best First Day drive for school supplies. 

Last year, the annual drive delivered more than 3,800 backpacks full of school supplies to students of all ages across the Thames Valley District School Board, as well as Indigenous communities and the London District Catholic School. 

“Although we don’t quite know what school will look like this fall, we do know that students will still require the necessary supplies to participate in learning,” says Jackie Ellefsen,  Thames Valley Education Foundation lead. 

The foundation is accepting donations now, earlier than normal this year, to get a head start sorting and packing donated supplies and backpacks for students.

“The first day of school is exciting for many families, but if you’re having difficulty managing rent and food, it can be hugely stressful,” says Kelly Ziegner, President and CEO, United Way Elgin Middlesex. “Thanks to the generosity of area businesses, individuals and volunteers, we can provide thousands of kids with those basic items they need to start the school year off right.”

Visit for information about dropping off donations, purchasing virtual items for the donation or signing up to volunteer. Donations are tax deductible. Families/students wishing to receive a backpack are asked to contact their school directly to make a request.

More information: 
Stephanie Winterton
Development Assistant and Events Coordinator
Thames Valley Education Foundation
519-452-2000   Ext. 20208

Aness Symons
Associate Director, Communications & Donor Experience
United Way Elgin Middlesex
519-438-1723 Ext. 235  

Rebecca Thiessen
Volunteer/Program Coordinator
The Salvation Army Centre of Hope
519-661-0343 Ext. 230 

Thames Valley Education Foundation – Established in 2001, The Thames Valley Education Foundation (TVEF) is a registered charitable organization affiliated with the Thames Valley District School Board. TVEF exists to build partnerships with the community that enhance opportunities in our schools and enrich public education. Funding for the Foundation comes from local businesses, grants, community organizations and concerned citizens who wish to support our District's tradition of excellence. Visit the TVEF website at or follow us on Twitter @TVeducationFdn

United Way Elgin Middlesex – United Way works to ensure that every person in every community across our region has a fair shot at their best life. As the largest non-government funder of social services in Elgin and Middlesex counties, we tackle issues linked to poverty and social exclusion through strategic leadership, advocacy, and investments at 52 partner agencies proven to get results. Donations stay 100% local, always.

The Salvation Army – The Salvation Army is an international Christian organization that began its work in Canada in 1882 and has grown to become one of the largest direct providers of social services in the country. The Salvation Army gives hope and support to vulnerable people in 400 communities across Canada and in more than 130 countries around the world. Its community and social service activities include: hunger relief for individuals and families through food banks and feeding programs; shelter for people experiencing homelessness and support for those needing housing; rehabilitation for those struggling with addiction; long-term care and palliative care; Christmas assistance such as food hampers and toys; after-school programs, camps, and school nutrition programs for children and youth; and life-skills classes such as budgeting, cooking for a family, and anger management. When you give to The Salvation Army, you are investing in the future of marginalized and overlooked people in your community.  News releases, articles and updated information can be found at

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