donations are being accepted to united way bruce grey backpack program
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Donations are being accepted to United Way Bruce Grey Backpack program

The United Way Bruce Grey’s back to school backpack program has distributed over 30,000 back packs since it began 17 years ago.

The program collects donations to provide backpacks for 4 grade levels: primary, intermediate, senior and high school.

United Way executive Director Francesca Dobbyn says the service has become even more essential with inflation skyrocketing.

“We were able to keep the average cost, to us, around $20 for a long time, but in 2020 it jumped to $30 and in 2021 cost jumped another $10 to $40 across the program” Dobbyn explains. “As a charity, trying to fundraise in a pandemic is challenging, you add in inflation and our donors are seeing inflation hit them, it’s a challenging time.”

Providing fully stocked backpacks has saved parents about $ million dollars. About 2100 backpacks are needed this year.

Local agencies can and do request bulk orders with families and parents calling 211 to register. Depots are set up throughout the 2 counties in late August to get the backpacks out to the requesting families.

Jasmine Adams has returned as the Backpack Program Co-ordinator for her second year running the program and can be reached at

The program is 100% supported by the community, people can donate year round by making a donation online through, calling the United Way at 519-376-1560 or by mail or in person at 380 9th street east Owen Sound ON N4K 1P1

Parents can call 211 to register for the program.

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