An Ottawa charity that provides school supplies to children in need has seen a 20 per cent spike in requests for help over last year.
This year the Caring and Sharing Exchange's "Sharing In Student Success" program has received more than 1,500 requests for children to receive the supplies.
Cindy Smith, the charity's executive director, tells CFRA this program makes a big difference for low income families.
"It really helps their self-esteem, I mean to go back to school on a level pleaying field as the other kids in your class means everything," said Smith. "You can just imagine going back and carrying let's say a plastic bag and not having a backpack and not having everything that other kids have... It's a hard life to begin with, but just to make it that much easier makes us feel really great."
She said they had so many requests that at first they weren't sure they would be able to help every child.
"We actually had a waiting list of about 420 kids," she said. "Giant Tiger had already generously donated 500 empty backpacks and found out about our 420 and they went ahead and donated another 420 empty backpacks. So it's just a matter of us being able to fill them."
Each child enrolled in the program will get a brand new back pack and supplies appropriate for their grade.
Information about donations can be found here.