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United Way overwhelmed by community support of Backpacks for Kids Program that helps students and families across Northumberland County

Over 1,500 students in Northumberland County headed back to school with a new backpack and supplies thanks to United Way Northumberland’s Backpacks for Kids program.

This year, United Way prepared nearly 1,500 backpacks full of school supplies that were delivered to students across the community from JK through Grade 12. This was an increase from 1,100 backpacks last year, and was the first time in 17 years that United Way has had a wait list.

“Thank you to everyone who answered our call for help to ensure that every child on our wait list received a backpack this year,” says Maggie Darling, Acting Executive Director, Northumberland United Way. “We were overwhelmed by the support from so many in our community who provided donations and organized supply drives.”

Thank you to this year’s Backpacks for Kids sponsors: Staples Cobourg, Cameco, Northumberland County Community and Social Services, Ganaraska Financial Credit Union, SABIC, Food 4 All Northumberland, the Cobourg Lions Community Centre, Hometown Bingo, Northumberland Sunrise Rotary, Rotary Club of Port Hope, and individual donors.

Local organizations that also participated in United Way’s Backpacks for Kids program to purchase product, donate, or host collection drives include Cobourg Police Services, TD Bank in Cobourg, The Ignite Company, and Grace Christian Reformed Church.

United Way’s Backpacks for Kids program launched in 2005 and has supported more than 20,000 students across Northumberland County. Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sorting and stuffing of the backpacks was completed only by United Way staff and board members. This year, United Way was thrilled to once again be able to invite community members to the Cobourg Lions Community Centre to volunteer and see the program firsthand.

“Thank you to our generous donors, volunteers and supporters, for helping to make the back-to-school season a little bit easier for those in our community,” says Darling.

United Way still has a few backpacks left for those in need throughout the school year. To inquire about a backpack, please contact Chelsea Rankin at or call (905) 372-6955.

To learn more or donate to United Way’s Backpacks for Kids program, please visit

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