OfficeMax Grand & Toy Partners with Start2Finish in Annual Backpack Program Packing Events

Yearly program provides at-risk youth across Canada with a backpack full of school supplies

TORONTO, Aug. 19, 2014 /CNW/ - Start2Finish, in partnership with Canadian office solutions provider OfficeMax Grand & Toy, today kicked off the Toronto portion of its annual Backpack Packing Day. The program equips students in low-income communities across the nation with a backpack full of school supplies. 

"Our work with Start2Finish is one way our employees, our company and our vendor partners can give back to the communities in which we live and work," said Marla Allan, Vice President of Human Resources, OfficeMax Grand & Toy. "For our many hundreds of volunteers, the Backpack Program is an important reminder of what is at stake for all of the Canadian children currently living at or below the poverty line. At OfficeMax Grand & Toy, we believe that every child deserves a chance."

This year's Backpack Packing Days are being held in Toronto, Hamilton, and Halifax, where hundreds of corporate volunteers and community groups will pack over 7,500 backpacks with school essentials.

OfficeMax Grand & Toy and Start2Finish have partnered for eight years to support Start2Finish's mission of breaking the cycle of child poverty by providing ongoing educational support to Canada's at risk children from Grade 1 through to their graduation from high school.

Past Start2Finish scholarship recipients also join the Backpack Program packing events to give back to the various programs that have had such positive impact on their lives.

"I want to sincerely thank Start2Finish and all of its members and volunteers and partners who have contributed countless hours over the years to provide impeccable support and services to kids in need.  I should know, I am one of them.  I have been awarded the scholarship four times and have a strong support system with the Start2Finish family," said Shazmeera Qadri, Start2Finish scholarship recipient. "Having gone through many hardships and struggles I know that success has no elevator, you must take the stairs.  But it is great to know that with any hurdle that I may have, there is a group of amazing and passionate people who continue to invest and believe in me to see me reach that top floor. Thank you Start2Finish," she added.

Since 2000, Start2Finish has provided almost 66,000 students with backpacks, valued at more than $7.5 million. Poverty remains an ongoing challenge faced by many students, driving the need for this program. This year, Start2Finish will donate 2,200 backpacks to 34 high needs schools in Toronto and another 5,300 across Canada.

"The Start2Finish Backpack Program is unlike any other program. It is a starting point for a comprehensive, year-long approach to eradicate low academic standards among Canada's one million children living in poverty," said Brian Warren, Executive Director and Founder of Start2Finish, and two-time Grey Cup champion. "We believe every Canadian child deserves the tools to succeed and we provide those tools."

The various Start2Finish programs have positively impacted over 76,000 children across Canada. In partnership with OfficeMax Grand & Toy, the Backpack Program continues to help thousands of children annually.

The backpack packing days would not be possible without the generous donations from the following companies: Acme, Crayola Canada, Elmer, 3M, Acco, Staedtler, Pentel, Newell, Bic, Maxell, Winnable, Zebra, Dixon, Dominion Blueline, Energizer.

About OfficeMax Grand & Toy
OfficeMax Grand & Toy is an affiliate of Office Depot, Inc. and a leading provider of workplace products and solutions serving business customers in Canada for over 130 years. From the latest technology, interiors and furniture, everyday office supplies and facility resources to a wide range of print and document services, we provide workplace innovation that enables our customers to work better.

About Start2Finish
Start2Finish is a national nonprofit organization that works to empower children of low-income families through an innovative Fitness Literacy Model. Established in 2000 as KidsFest and rebranded to Start2Finish in 2011, it is supported by donors and volunteers, and sponsored by Wonder+, OfficeMax Grand & Toy, Scotiabank, George Weston Limited and TD Canada Trust. For more information on Start2Finish programs or volunteering please visit: www.start2finishonline.org.


SOURCE: OfficeMax Grand&Toy

For further information:

MEDIA CONTACT: 

For more information, contact:
Michelle Wray
Director of Volunteer and Community Relations, Start2Finish
michelle.wray@start2finishonline.org
1-888-320-8844 ext. 206

Jenny Maycock
Environics Communications, Inc. (for OfficeMax Grand & Toy)
jmaycock@environicspr.com
416-969-2718

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