The Salvation Army Gateway of Hope will distribute school supplies at a special event.

Backpacks brimming with school supplies readied for Langley students

The public can donate goods or money to the annual Gateway of Hope school supply drive

For the second year in a row, the Gateway of Hope is throwing a party to distribute donated school supplies to local families who couldn’t otherwise afford to kit out the kids for class.

The annual School Supply Drive is accepting donations of supplies or money to be able to help kids in this community.

“We are doing kindergarten right up to Grade 12,” said Dan Donkers, Gateway’s fundraising co-ordinator.

The supply lists from school keep growing as education evolves and local Salvation Army has been holding supply drives since before the Gateway of Hope was open. The local shelter sees more and more people needing help.

“It’s grown. Probably the biggest thing is we’ve seen a 12 per cent increase in demand year over year,” Donkers said. “We’re planning for 550 this year. We had about 500 last year.”

Christian Life Assembly, The Village and Southgate Church along with some others have partnered with Gateway to make the distribution of the supplies into a party. The back to school event happens Aug. 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Douglas Park Community School, 5409 206th St. There’s a free barbecue, a photo booth, games, free haircuts for kids, and manicures for moms. If people want to volunteer for the distribution party, they can contact the shelter.

To help with the school supply drive, people can either drop off items or financial donations at the Gateway of Hope, 5787 Langley Bypass, or they can make donations through the Gateway website.

“We can accept them right up until next Wednesday (Aug. 21),” he said.

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Gateway bases its bundle of school supplies on the lists from local schools. The backpacks filled with supplies are prepped for different ages groups – kindergarten to Grade 4, middle school, and high school.

“The biggest thing we’re looking for are pencil cases, hard and soft pencil cases,” said Donkers. “Markers are a big need, binders as well. Any school supplies are great but those are the bigger [need].”

The program has plenty of pens, highlighters, glue and glue sticks, pencils, and notebooks so people don’t need to donate those. Anyone uncertain of what to contribute can provide money so needed items can be purchased by Gateway.

The supply drive is generating lots of interest on Gateways social media channels.

“Feedback’s been great, Some are asking how they can donate. Some are asking how they can volunteer,” he said.

People needing supplies for their children must register in advance by contacting Gateway.

“We don’t have online sign up this year… just a call or an email to us, they can sign up,” Donkers said.

Those who have registered and miss the distribution party can pick up the supplies at Gateway.

Those who missed the registration cut-off (Aug. 23) can still request supplies. There is no guarantee there will bundles available, but the shelter tries to help as many people as they can.

“We don’t really want to leave anyone shut out,” Donkers said.

To register a child to receive a school supplies kit, people must:

– Be the parent or guardian of child

– Supply two pieces of ID

Register by calling 604-514-7375 or in person at Gateway.

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Gateway of Hope fundraising co-ordinator Dan Donkers aid the centre has enough of certain supplies, such as highlighters but needs other basic school supplies for its annual drive. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

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