WINDSOR, ONT., -- Over 1,500 Windsor-Essex children will have new backpacks this fall thanks to a United Way campaign.

United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County wrapped up the Summer Eats for Kids program and hosted its Backpacks for Success backpack pickup on Tuesday and Thursday.

The 1,500-plus backpacks were handed out to families with school-aged children in west Windsor, downtown Windsor and Leamington.

The Backpack for Success Program gave qualifying kids in kindergarten through Grade 12 a backpack filled with grade-appropriate supplies. Due to the incredible demand, gift cards were handed out to those who were not able to receive a backpack.

“Providing kids with back to school supplies increases classroom participation, attendance and student morale,” says United Way CEO Lorraine Goddard. “Most importantly, having the supplies they need gives kids the confidence to succeed in school. School is going to look very different this year, but families shouldn’t have to worry about their kids having the supplies they need whether they are attending class in person or virtually.”

Summer Eats for Kids Program

Aug. 25 and Aug. 27 were also the last two days for the United Way’s Summer Eats for Kids program, which provided over 4,500 food boxes to kids and families this summer.

About 70 volunteers helped to hand out the food boxes, as well as books that were collected throughout the summer by the United Way’s Women United group.

Over 5,000 books were collected through the drive and handed out to children to encourage reading over the summer months.