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Back-to-school donations down, says Single Parents Association of Newfoundland


Published on August 10, 2017

Elaine Balsome is the executive director of the Single Parent Association of Newfoundland.

©Beth Penney/The Telegram

The Single Parent Association of Newfoundland (SPAN) is concerned about the lack of donations for its 2017 Back to School Project.

“Donations are down this year, by a lot,” said Elaine Balsom, executive director of SPAN. “We are wondering, and scrambling, to see if we will have enough (donations) to fill our need.”

SPAN has been providing school supplies for children of lower-income, single-parent families for almost 20 years.

Its Back to School Project provided book bags and school supplies to 300 children last year, from grades K-12.

This year, the organization was able to register only 200 children.

“The economy has a lot to do with it,” said Balsom. “I was contacted earlier this year by many groups, families and companies who knew they wouldn’t be able to contribute this year.

“At this point, we have enough to provide about 75 to 100 kids with school supplies.”

Balsom told The Telegram the older children are often the ones who get left out.

“Book bags and other supplies for elementary level children are fairly inexpensive,” said Balsom. “But when you get into Grade 7 and above, it starts getting pricey.

“So we find a lot more people donating supplies appropriate for the younger kids.”

Anybody who calls to inquire about the Back to School Project is now placed on a waitlist.

“If we’re short on donations, we are going to have to go out and try to buy whatever supplies are left, and get them in bulk,” said Balsom.

“I can safely say that since I’ve taken over doing the project co-ordinating part, this has been the most difficult year.”

SPAN is opened for donations to be dropped off from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and closed for lunch from 1-2 p.m.

Call 738-3401 to get more information.