Rotary Club Honours Paul Elsley

Some well deserved recognition for one of our amazing volunteers: The Rotary Club of Kingston awarded Paul Elsley the Paul Harris Fellow Award for his strong contribution and commitment to the community. Paul does fantastic work running the Blessings in a Backpack program in Kingston. Congratulations!

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Backpacks 4 Brainiacs

Are you ready to go back to school?

It’s time to brush up on your history, geography and entertainment because we are hosting an “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader” themed trivia night in support of Blessings in a Backpack.

When: Monday, November 23rd at 7pm
Where: Touché Restaurant and Bar, 669 College St
Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10.00 (cash only).

Have a fun night and support a great cause. Hope you can make it out!
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Neal Dick Breakfast Supports Blessings Kingston

NealDickBreakfastOn Saturday, June 13, 2015, at Rideau Acres Campground just north of Kingston, Ontario, friends and family gathered to remember an outstanding Rotarian and humanitarian, Neal Dick. It was the 1st annual breakfast in his honour with over 300 people in attendance.

The event was co-hosted by the Rural Committee of the Rotary Club of Kingston and Neal’s family who continue to operate the campground and dining hall. For a small fee, attendees were treated to a hearty breakfast and an opportunity to share stories about this fine man. Neal gave so much of himself to our community and his passion for the less fortunate among us knew no bounds.

All proceeds from the event were donated – half to the Rotary Club of Kingston of which Neal was a member for many years and half to Blessings in a Backpack – Kingston Chapter as selected by the Rural Committee. These funds ($1,100) will be used to aid in program expansion in the north end of Kingston this fall.

It was an honour for BIAB to be associated with the event and we look forward to continuing the partnership in the coming years. There is no doubt that it would have brought a smile to Neal’s face knowing that he will continue to serve many young people in need in this way!

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Millicare Month of Care in Support of BIAB

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Volunteer Spotlight: Victoria G-C

Looking Back
By: Linda Goytan

VirtueStanding in the foyer, at San Lorenzo Ruiz Catholic Elementary School (SLR) in Mississauga, I enjoy looking around and thinking of all the wonderful memories. I smile as my eyes focus on a very special mirror on the wall. It questions all who look at it with “Can you see yourself in the virtues?” From the Blessings in a Backpack perspective, one can definitely say…yes!

All of the past and present team leaders and backpack donors should be proud of everything that has been achieved over the years. Together we succeeded! Thank you for your enthusiasm and determination to keep up with the tradition of collecting backpacks for Blessings. By thinking of others and giving generously, you have all shown your commitment to community service for the benefit of those in need. What a wonderful learning experience!

May the virtues of empathy, faith, courage, love, hope and the joy of success continue to empower and guide all of you with your future endeavours. May you always make a difference wherever life should lead you. Keep on trailblazing!

Memories Made to Last
By: Victoria G-C

SLRWhen I think back over the years, I count my blessings and am thankful for all the great memories. I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to continue the tradition of collecting backpacks for the Blessings in a Backpack program. My involvement with Blessings began seven years ago when I donated some backpacks to the backpack collection drive that was then organized by Angela McLean at our school San Lorenzo Ruiz. I thought that this was a worthy cause to donate to and I continued to do so every year after that. Then, when it was time for Angela to graduate from Grade 8 she approached me to ask me if I would continue with the yearly collection drive at the school. I agreed and that was when Angela officially passed the baton of organizing over to me.

In the fall of 2011, just as I was starting Grade 5, I began organizing my first backpack donation drive at SLR. And, have continued to do so for the past four years. During this 2014-2015 school year, many announcements and posters were made for our 7th annual Blessings in a Backpack donation drive held from October 1st to October 24th, 2014. As a result, a total of 74 backpacks were donated and there were two lucky winners of movie gift cards. A great big thank you to this year’s Blessings Team Leaders: Juliane F., Caitlin F., Gabyrel C., Kyle P., Arjun L., Alex C., Joaquin P., Alyssa M., Michelle K., Joshua M., Vivian B., George C., Victoria V., Jerald G., Thea M., Kristine C., Andrew S., and Phillip W. Also, very special thanks to the present and past Principals, Vice-Principals, teachers, custodian, and office staff, as well as all the team leaders, backpack donors and contest winners.

Now, that my time at SLR has finished and I have graduated from Grade 8, I am very thankful that our Blessings team was able to keep up with the yearly tradition. Organizing the backpack donation drive and collecting the backpacks for Blessings in a Backpack really was a wonderful learning experience for which we were able to put our virtues into action. Thank you everyone for all the great memories. These memories were truly made to last!

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“100 Woman Who Care” Care About Feeding Children

100 Women Who Care is a powerful group of committed women that meet quarterly for 1 hour to make an immediate, direct and positive impact on the lives of their neighbours. At every meeting, the members contribute $100 each and decide where to direct the funds. We’re thrilled that 100 Woman Who Care of Greater Moncton chose to support Blessings in a Backpack. Their generosity will feed more than 90 local children on weekends.

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For more information on this amazing organization visit www.100womenmoncton.com

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Cunningham Swan Steps Up Help Children in Need

It has been a difficult year for many with the stagnating economy and limited job prospects. Finding enough food for families seems to be more challenging than ever, even in an otherwise affluent city like Kingston, Ontario. Fortunately, there are great corporate citizens stepping up in this time of need.

Cunningham Swan, a premier law firm located in the old S & R building in the downtown core, is a great supporter of the community. Among its many philanthropic activities, each year, the firm chooses a local charitable endeavour to support through the holiday season. This year, the firm chose the Kingston chapter of Blessings in a Backpack. The campaign was promoted throughout the month of December; participants were encouraged to pledge either a monetary or food donation to the cause. The proceeds were collected at the firm on Dec. 15, 2014 allowing time to get food to a local elementary school before the winter holidays.

Through donations from lawyers and staff as well as friends of the firm, Cunningham, Swan raised over $1,000 in support of Kingston’s Blessings in a Backpack chapter along with numerous large boxes of non-perishable food items. This was especially helpful to the children of the school since there were sixteen days between the end of classes in December and the start of classes in January. The additional food helped families to cover the extra time when school meal programmes were unavailable to their children. It was a tremendous gift graciously received by the school.
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Pancakes and Sausages – oh my!

hastingsA big thank you to Buy Low Fraser Street grocery store for hosting an amazing breakfast meal for the students at two of our schools. Buy Low Fraser Street has been instrumental in the Blessings in a Backpack program in Vancouver and went above and beyond by providing pancakes and sausages for more than 75 children to enjoy. What an amazing pre-Christmas treat!

pancakesThe Neighbourhood Worker that helped with the cooking had this to say:
“Our students really enjoyed the pancake breakfast. Thank the grocer for this donation. The children were very happy and many came for seconds, both with the sausages and the pancakes! The boys in particular are always hungry and the parents really appreciate the Blessings food. Thank you for your hard work and dedication in continuing this great service. Wishing you a fun-filled and peaceful holiday and New Year!”

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Kingston Hockey Teams Support Blessings

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Two local hockey teams took time from their very busy December schedules to gather food and other essentials for needy children in north Kingston. Their efforts did much to support families over the holiday season and raise awareness of food security issues with the players and parents of the teams.

The holiday season is a difficult one for families in need particularly given that there are sixteen days between the end of classes and the beginning of the new term. These children do not have access to their in-school meal programmes during that time and must find support elsewhere. The Kingston Canadians Minor Atom AA Hockey (boys) team collected non-perishable foods for our local elementary school during a hockey tournament they hosted over the weekend of Dec. 20 – 21. They encouraged teams participating to bring donated food. As a result, the Kingston Chapter of Blessings in a Backpack was provided with 62 bags of food and a $200 gift card from Bennett’s ValuMart.

The Ice Wolves Pee Wee AA (girls) Hockey team also contributed to the campaign. Each player and some of the parents filled holiday shoe boxes with essential items for young girls of a similar age. The team got together at the home of Mike and Cathy Wilson to organize and gift wrap the shoe boxes. They also baked cookies to distribute to students at the school.

Both teams learned a lot about the plight of food insecure families in Kingston. The Principal was overjoyed to receive these gifts during the final week of classes and the families could rest a little easier knowing that their cupboards would be filled for the holidays.

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Buy a Giveback Pack today!

Giveback Packs on sale now!

A Giveback Pack is a gift bag filled with surprise items sold in support of Blessings in a Backpack.

Giveback Packs are $100, – each one sold feeds a child on the program for a full year. Buy one today for yourself or as a gift. You may get gift items, gift certificates, books, jewelry, gym passes or even Raptors or Leafs tickets!

You can also purchase a raffle ticket for $10 for a 1 in 10 chance of winning a Giveback Pack.
Feed a child in need without having to attend an event or even leave your house.

Each Giveback Pack is unique – what will be in yours? PURCHASE NOW

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