Back to school: Toronto volunteers pack supplies for kids in shelters
In the auditorium of a Toronto synagogue, volunteers are busy packing about 1,000 backpacks for children living in city shelters.
For more than 20 years, volunteers with Na’amat Canada’s “School Supplies for Kids” program have been assembling backpacks full of the essentials for children living in domestic violence shelters.
“We feel the women and the children who go into these shelters go with nothing, Some of them go in the middle of the night -- they just run away. They have nothing, so for these kids to go into a new school with a new backpack and new supplies -- everything is brand new -- it makes them feel part of the school,” said Roni Maderer, president of Na’amat Canada Toronto.
The “School Supplies for Kids” program was launched in 1998 and operates in five cities across Canada, including Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto.
“There’s always those people who don’t have what I’m lucky enough to have,” said 12-year-old Daniel Yoffe, who has volunteered at this event for two years now.
Na’amat Canada is a non-profit organization that was launched in 1925. Over the last nine decades, it has helped tens of thousands of women and children in Canada and Israel.
Apart from providing school kids in shelters with backpacks, the program gives their mothers toiletries.
“It’s just wonderful to give to the community, and give to Israel, and be with my family.” said volunteer Linda Wolk, who participated in Tuesday’s event with her husband, daughter and granddaughter Sara.
Ten-year-old Sara Lindsay said it was fun to do something positive for the community, alongside her family.
“It’s kind of cool that I can finally be a part of this.”
Before the week is out, volunteers expect to pack about 1.000 backpacks for children living in 12 shelters.