The Salvation Army in Halifax says it's seeing double the demand for its Back to School Backpack Program this year compared to last year and is turning to the public for donations.
"Individuals who, in previous years, we would know as donors are now families who are coming back and saying, 'I never anticipated all these years of supporting that the time would come when I would need this support,' " Capt. Brent Haas told CBC's Mainstreet Halifax in an interview on Wednesday.
Last year, Haas said they needed about 240 backpacks with school supplies and this year they need more than 500. On Wednesday, he said they were still looking for around 200 more to give to children.
Haas said he wasn't surprised by the surge because he's also seen increasing use of food banks and other community programs the Salvation Army operates.
"With the prices of groceries, gas and really inflation on every aspect of life, people are just really struggling right now to provide the the basic and essential needs," Haas said.
The "greatest nightmare," Haas said, would be not having enough to give out before Sept. 7 — the first day of school.
"Even in the last eight, 10 hours it's been amazing to see the generosity as we have made known just how much this increase has been this year," Haas said. "People are matching it with their generosity, so I am confident and we will do everything we can to make sure that every person, every family has their need met before next Wednesday."
Haas said the usual type of school supplies are needed, but especially backpacks because they are more expensive.
"We're really struggling to have enough to even put the school supplies in. So that would certainly be a major focus for us right now," Haas said.
Those looking to donate can drop supplies off at the following locations:
School supplies can be dropped off at:
51 Metropolitan Avenue in Lower Sackville.
946 Main Street in Dartmouth.
2038 Gottingen Street in Halifax.
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