Staples Business Depot report card finds "Room for Improvement"



    Leading retailer shares school supplies research and community
    initiatives to raise awareness and encourage support

    TORONTO, Aug. 9 /CNW/ - Despite increasing contributions from parents,
teachers and community groups, there remains an ongoing and widespread need
for school supplies for Canadian students. That is the finding of a report
card on the issue, released by STAPLES Business Depot to introduce the
company's new community giving program, community@work.
    "'Room For Improvement' was the overall grade given by the STAPLES Report
Card on School Supplies," said Steve Matyas, President, STAPLES Business
Depot. "Despite the often tremendous efforts being made by individual parents,
teachers and organizations, too many children still head back-to-school each
fall without the basic essentials."
    As one of Canada's leading suppliers of back-to-school needs, STAPLES
Business Depot analyzed qualitative and quantitative research compiled from a
variety of education and community support organizations across Canada, along
with anecdotal information contained in media reports.
    "Parents making individual financial donations, organized fundraising
efforts and teachers buying needed classroom supplies out of their own pockets
- these are the kinds of situations which were once unusual but are now
routine in trying to meet the annual need for basic supplies," Matyas said.
    The STAPLES Business Depot Report Card on School Supplies was compiled
from leading sources including the Ontario Child Poverty Resource Network and
the Social Planning Council of Ottawa. Among its key findings:

    
    -   Canadian parents pay an average of about $1,300 per student per year
        for school supplies, fees and clothing;

    -   Parent councils are increasingly becoming full-time fundraising
        organizations, and schools are becoming increasingly dependent on the
        parent councils to play that role;

    -   Fundraising proceeds from parents in Ontario grew by 30 per cent over
        a recent three year period;

    -   Individual teachers pay out of their own pockets to help provide
        needed classroom supplies at a personal cost of up to $500 per year.
    

    STAPLES SUPPORTS STUDENTS: COMMUNITY@WORK
    --------------------------------------------

    STAPLES Business Depot has recognized this need and continues to collect
supplies and donations during the weeks leading up to back-to-school. Their
successful existing programs will now be part of a more robust community
giving program called community@work.
    With their annual Back-to-School Supply Drive, a collection program that
benefits more than 300 schools and community groups across the country,
STAPLES encourages its customers to contribute needed school supplies by
placing special collection bins in each of its stores. During the
back-to-school shopping period customers can donate a wide variety of needed
items by buying extra quantities of pens, pencils, paper, notebooks etc. and
placing them in the bins for direct donation to local schools. Alternatively,
consumers can make a cash donation as they check out. During the 2006
Back-to-School Supply Drive, alone, Canadians donated more than $400,000 worth
of school supplies.
    The 2007 STAPLES Back to School Supply Drive runs from August 11th
through September 9th in stores across Canada.
    In addition, the Recycle For Education program, established in 2004,
STAPLES donates money for school supplies for every empty ink and toner
cartridge returned to its stores for recycling. In addition to the
environmental benefit, the program has raised more than $495,000 for
participating schools since its inception.

    About STAPLES Business Depot

    STAPLES Business Depot was founded in Toronto in 1991. It is Canada's
largest supplier of office supplies, business machines, office furniture and
business services for the small business and home office customer. The company
is an everyday low price retailer. The chain operates stores in all provinces
across Canada under the banners STAPLES(R) Business Depot(TM) and BUREAU EN
GROS(TM). The company has over 13,500 employees serving customers through more
than 273 office superstores, catalogue, and e-commerce. STAPLES(R) Business
Depot(TM)/BUREAU EN GROS(TM) is committed to making shopping easy by offering
customers three ways to shop - online, by catalogue and in-store. More
information is available at www.staples.ca.

    About Staples

    Staples, Inc. invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and today is
the world's largest office products company. With 69,000 talented associates,
the company is committed to making it easy to buy a wide range of office
products, including supplies, technology, furniture, and business services.
With 2005 sales of $16.1 billion, Staples serves consumers and businesses
ranging from home-based businesses to Fortune 500 companies in 21 countries
throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. Headquartered outside of
Boston, Staples operates more than 1,800 office superstores and also serves
its customers through mail order catalog, e-commerce and contract businesses.
More information is available at www.staples.com.

    
    For further information and/or images, please visit:

    Hostname:   ftp.veritascanada.com    Folder:     STAPLES Report Card
    Username:   veritas2                 password:   school

    Sources

    -  School Based Student Fees, Eastern Ontario Child Poverty Resource
       Network
    -  Public Education "Pay as You Go", Social Planning Council of Ottawa
    -  Bake Sales and Buying Teachers, Our Times Magazine
    




For further information:

For further information: Anne Adamson, Veritas Communications, (416)
482-2248, adamson@veritascanada.com; Alessandra Saccal, STAPLES Business
Depot, (905) 737-1147 x 2363, (416) 570-9978, alessandra.saccal@staples.ca


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