TORONTO, Aug. 21, 2012 /CNW/ - Start2Finish, in partnership with
Canadian office solutions provider Grand & Toy, today kicks off its
annual Backpack Program packing events at the Grand & Toy head office
in Toronto. With the help of school boards and local administrators,
the program identifies students with the greatest need in low-income
communities across the nation and equips them with school supplies.
This helps even the playing field for these students and prepare them
for a successful school year.
This year's Backpack Packing Days will be held in Toronto, Hamilton,
Halifax and Calgary, where hundreds of corporate volunteers and
community groups will pack 9,000 backpacks with school essentials.
Past Start2Finish scholarship recipients will join the Backpack Program
packing events to give back to the program that has had such positive
impact on their lives.
Navi*, a past backpack recipient, moved to Canada from Pakistan two
months after 9/11. At the age of seven, Navi's father passed away,
making it difficult for her mother as she provided for their family on
a single income. Through the Start2Finish Pathway of Hope Scholarship
Program, Navi received the support she needed to continue her
education. Currently attending York University, Navi's giving back to
the community along with the other scholarship recipients, by helping
new students prepare for the school year ahead.
"The Start2Finish program had a significant and positive impact on my
life at a time when it was most needed," Navi said. "Over the years the
program has continued to reaffirm my belief that education is the
pathway to ending child poverty."
Since 2003, Start2Finish has provided almost 18,000 students with
backpacks, valued at more than $2.2 million. The demand for backpacks
continues to rise as poverty remains an ongoing challenge faced by many
students. This year, Start2Finish will donate close to 6,000 backpacks
to 54 high needs schools in Toronto and another 3,220 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 1 million children living in
poverty," said Brian Warren, Executive Director and Founder of
Start2Finish, and two-time Grey Cup champion. "We arm these children
with tools to thrive and have seen the outstanding results firsthand as
successful recipients return to help others."
Grand & Toy has partnered to support Start2Finish with its mission to
break the cycle of child poverty by providing ongoing educational
support to Canada's at risk children throughout their school years,
nurturing mind, body and social health so they are empowered to succeed
and become role models for change.
This outlook aligns directly with the Grand & Toy social responsibility
mandate to "Be Better for Our Communities." A recent UNICEF report ranked Canada 12th in terms of child poverty of rates among economically advanced
"Our work with Start2Finish is one way our employees can give back to
the communities they work in," said Marla Allan, Vice President of
Human Resources, Grand & Toy. "For our many hundreds of volunteers, the
Backpack Program is an important reminder of what is at stake for
thousands of Canadian children each year."
The various Start2Finish programs have positively impacted over 60,000
children across Canada. In partnership with Grand & Toy, the Backpack
Program continues to help thousands of children annually and is growing
thanks to an increase in support in the form of time, supplies and
Backpack packing events are being held in Hamilton on August 22nd; Halifax (Dartmouth) on August 23rd; and Calgary on August 28th. Full details for each event can be found here: http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1022835/media-advisory-annual-start2finish-backpacking-event-prepares-students-for-the-year-ahead
NOTE: Photo opportunities at each event include VIP attendees and
spokespeople, past scholarship recipients, and volunteers preparing
Start2Finish is a national nonprofit organization that works to empower
children of low-income families through an innovative fitness and
literacy model. Established in 2000 as KidsFest and rebranded to
Start2Finish in 2011, it is supported by donors and volunteers, and
sponsored by Wonder+, Grand & Toy, Scotiabank, George Weston Limited
and TD Canada Trust. For more information on Start2Finish programs or
volunteering please visit: www.start2finishonline.org.
About Grand & Toy
With a heritage that dates back to 1882, today's Grand & Toy is
committed to offering sustainable solutions to Canadian business in the
areas of interiors, technology, and imaging in addition to office and
facility supplies. We operate one of the country's largest distribution
networks serving clients coast-to-coast. Grand & Toy also demonstrates
a firm commitment to corporate social responsibility through a
comprehensive sustainability strategy that's manifested through
numerous internal and external environmental and social outreach
programs. For more information, visit grandandtoy.com.
*Navi's name has been changed to protect her identity.
For further information:
For more information, contact:
Director of Volunteer and Community Relations, Start2Finish
1-888-320-8844 ext. 206
Senior Consultant, Environics Communications, Inc. (for Grand & Toy)
416-920-9000 ext. 2722