‘Operation Backpack’ led by Hamilton steelworkers’ council will support 2,000 schoolchildren


Published August 30, 2022 at 12:35 pm

The Hamilton Steelworkers Area Council says it has fulfilled a goal to furnish 60 per cent more children in southwestern Ontario have necessary school supplies.

On Wednesday morning (Aug. 31), volunteers with Operation BackPack will gather at the United Steelworkers Centre to fill 2,000 backpacks for children in need. The decade-old campaign is led by HSAC and the United Steelworkers locals. Volunteers from ArcelorMittal Hamilton East, many partnering companies and union locals are also pitching in with the packing.

The 2021 campaign helped out 1,250 children, but the bar for this year was set at 2,000. A social media video said about $64,000 was collected in order to acquire items such as ballpoint pens, binders, calculators, coloured pencils, graph paper, lunch bags, pencils, rulers, scissors and (obviously) backpacks.

“In our first year (2012) we packed 92 backpacks which were delivered to a few local schools,” Darren Green, president of HSAC, stated in a release on Tuesday. “The response from teachers told us the need was much greater so we have been
working very hard to grow the program to where we are today.”

Expanding outside Hamilton

Just under two-thirds of the backpacks will be given to children in Hamilton, says HSAC. Eight hundred will be distributed through Hamilton schools. St. Matthew’s House, a charitable service agency located on Barton St. E., will pass out another 500. The other 700 are being given to schoolkids in London and Simcoe.

The USW locals 5328, 16506, 4153, 7135, 1005, 4752 and 1976 contributed to the initiative. The Steelworkers Humanity Fund, Steelworkers Family Education Fund, ArcelorMittal Hamilton East, Stelco and Golden Horseshoe Credit Union also contributed, along with many other community sponsors.

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