Grand & Toy partners with Start2Finish in ninth annual backpack program

Yearly packing events equip at-risk youth across Canada with a backpack full of vital school supplies

TORONTO, Aug.13, 2015 /CNW/ - Start2Finish, in partnership with Canadian office solutions provider Grand & Toy, today kicked off the Toronto portion of its annual Backpack Packing Day. The program provides school supplies to thousands of kids in low-income communities across the nation, who begin the school year without proper essentials.   

"Grand & Toy's partnership with Start2Finish is strongly supported by our employees and vendors year after year because it provides an opportunity to give back to the communities in which we serve," said Marla Allan, Vice President of Human Resources, Grand & Toy. "This Backpack Program provides essential school supplies that are out-of-reach for many children who are living at or below the poverty line, ensuring these students are properly equipped for the new school year."

This year's Backpack Packing Days are being held in Toronto and Hamilton, where hundreds of corporate volunteers and community groups will pack more than 2,900 backpacks with school essentials, including paper, pens, pencil cases, binders and other supplies. 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.

"It is important for me to give back to an organization that has had such a positive impact on my life and it is amazing to know that there are so many passionate people who care about those who don't have a lot, like myself," said Shazmeera Qadri, Start2Finish scholarship recipient. "Each day I work hard knowing I have a team of supporters, sponsors and volunteers at Start2Finish, thank you."

This is the ninth year that Grand & Toy is supporting 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 high school graduation.

The various Start2Finish programs have positively impacted more than 76,000 children across Canada. Since 2000, Start2Finish has provided almost 70,000 students with backpacks, valued at more than $7.8 million. This year, Start2Finish will donate 2,900 backpacks to 76 high needs schools and 28 after school clubs in Toronto and across Canada. Poverty remains an ongoing challenge faced by many students, driving the need for this program.

"Our Backpack Program is where Start2Finish begins ensuring success in the classroom and contributes to 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. "Start2Finish believes that every Canadian child deserves the tools to succeed."

The backpack packing days would not be possible without the generous donations from the following companies: Acme, Acco, Dixon, Crayola, Elmer's, Zebra, Bic, Pentel and Newell.

About Grand & Toy
With a heritage that dates back to 1882, today's Grand & Toy is committed to offering sustainable solutions to Canadian businesses in the areas of interiors, technology and print & document services, in addition to office and facility supplies. We are one of the largest B2B office products and services providers, operating one of the country's biggest distribution networks serving customers coast-to-coast via our direct sales force and e-commerce platform. Grand & Toy also demonstrates a firm commitment to corporate social responsibility through a comprehensive sustainability strategy that is manifested through numerous internal and external environmental and social outreach programs. For more information, visit

About Start2Finish
Start2Finish is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to break the cycle of child poverty by providing ongoing educational support to Canada's at risk children through an innovative fitness and literacy model. Start2Finish is supported by donors and volunteers, and is sponsored by Grand & Toy, Scotiabank and TD Canada Trust. For more information on Start2Finish programs or volunteering please visit:

SOURCE Grand & Toy

For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: For more information, contact: Michelle Wray, Director of Volunteer and Community Relations, Start2Finish,, 1-888-320-8844 ext. 206; Jenny Maycock, Environics Communications, Inc.,, 416-969-2718

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