Ridgeway Lions help students with back-to-school materials

Ridgeway Lionne Carole-Ann Bourgeois and Lionne Karen Cooper-Buchanan have been busy filling backpacks with school supplies that will be donated to four area schools and distributed to children in need.

New shoes, clothes, backpacks and school supplies are on many parents’ minds right now and at the top of their shopping lists as their children prepare to return to school.

For many parents, the start of the school year weighs heavily on the family budget.

With the rising cost of living, it is even more difficult for some families to buy school supplies. That’s why the Ridgeway Lions are giving out backpacks with the supplies kids need to get back to school.

“Families need a little extra help these days. Rent has gone up, food prices have skyrocketed and we hope these backpacks will provide some relief to some families,” said Lioness member Carole-Ann Bourgeois.

The Lions Back-to-School Backpack Program began last year to help families.

Led by Bourgeois with the help of volunteers, the program is made possible through generous donations of good quality backpacks and school supplies.

Housewife and lioness Karen Cooper-Buchanan started packing around 200 bags earlier in August and filled them with everything needed; everything from rulers to glue sticks, pencil sharpeners, erasers, pens, pencils, scissors, highlighters, pencil cases, notebooks and duotangs.

When deciding what to put in the donated backpacks, Bourgeois knew which items would be most needed, thanks to his experience in the field of education.

“I worked in a school in the office for 30 years,” she said. “I knew what to get the kids going back to school.”

The Lions will distribute the backpacks to four area schools as needed. These schools include St. Joseph’s Catholic Elementary School and Stevensville Public School, both in Stevensville; St. George Catholic Elementary School in Crystal Beach; and John Brant School in Ridgeway.

Bourgeois said the Lions are aware of the number of struggling families since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and that is why the program was launched last year.

“For some of these families, the added expense of getting their children ready for another school year only adds to the stress and hardship.”

For more information about the Lions Backpack Program or to make a donation, call the club at 905-894-4848.

Charles P. Patton