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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Calls for help before back to school

It’s that time of year again; time to prepare the kids for their return to school for another year.

During the inevitable shop for school uniforms, shoes and stationery supplies, Canberrans are being urged to spare a thought for those struggling with back-to-school expenses.

Nation-wide charity GIVIT is encouraging people to donate to their 2019 Back to School Appeal, where specific items have been requested by charities and community organisations on behalf of families.

“There’s almost 9,000 kids living in poverty in Canberra … so we’ve partnered with a number of community service providers to get those items to kids in need,” said Caroline Odgers, GIVIT’s ACT manager.

“To date, we’ve received over $40,000 worth of item requests from those service providers, ranging from exercise book and stationery packs, right through to uniforms and school shoes, haircut vouchers, Officeworks vouchers … a whole raft of items.”

ACT Minister for Education Yvette Berry said the ACT Government’s partnership with GIVIT is important to ensure that every child, regardless of background and family circumstances, gets the “same chance”.

“We know that every child deserves the best possible education, but we also know that not every child starts at an equal place,” Minister Berry said.

“So by encouraging other families who want to support children and families who don’t have the same kind of chances in life, that’s a way the community can come together to support others in their community that need that help.

“Asking the community to make donations really complements what’s already available.”

Ms Odgers said the bulk of requests received by GIVIT are from recently arrived families or victims of domestic violence.

“I would say school uniforms are the big one [requests]. Then we’ve got the more expensive items such as maths tin sets … calculators, kind of the more expensive items. With that said, we are literally after hundreds of pens, glue sticks, exercise books,” she said.

“Also an interesting thing to note is after Christmas, we see an influx of requests from domestic violence services … when families spend more time together, feeling the pinch of Christmas, fuelled by alcohol, emotions are running high. So this time of year along with back to school requests we see lots of requests from domestic violence services.”

For more information or to donate to the appeal, visit givit.org.au/items-needed

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