Strathmore FCSS brings back Tools for School

·2 min read

The Strathmore Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is bringing back their Tools for School campaign for the upcoming academic year.

The campaign is designed to help provide students coming from families classified as low income with necessary school supplies for their upcoming classes.

Tammy Sieben with Strathmore FCSS, said school supplies are purchased and organized based on what schools and grades the applicant students are in, to suit their needs most appropriately.

“We accept donations of money or supplies, either here (at FCSS), at Wheatland FCSS, or Value Drug Mart,” said Sieben. “People come to FCSS, they fill out an application form to qualify them for the program … we purchase the supplies and fill up a backpack for them and then before school starts, they can come and pick up the backpack.”

As negotiations with a partner business were still ongoing at the time of publication, the FCSS declined to comment regarding exactly how supplies would be assembled or distributed this year.

Sieben has been running the program in Strathmore since 2017, but it has been in local operation since before then.

“Other than the way we were administering the program during COVID, it hasn’t changed,” said Sieben. “The only thing that does change each year is probably the financial limits because we base it on the Alberta low-income standards.”

Roughly 25 families, which equates to approximately 35 to 40 students, make use of the program in Strathmore on an annual basis.

Sieben hopes that as the program continues to operate, any stigma that presides over making use of the service may be eliminated.

“I think it has a huge impact. A lot of these kids would go to school without a lot of the necessary supplies,” said Sieben. “As well … this allows the students to avoid the stigma of low income. Going to school with the necessary supplies, other students might not necessarily view them in a negative light.”

Tools for School is largely dependent on donations, which may either be made as financial or physical materials. Those who wish to help are encouraged to contribute at their local drop-off location.

The program usually runs for the entire month of August and supplies are purchased at the end of the month for students to have on the first day of school.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times