Back-to-School Program

Snacks n' Sneakers returns to help Welland kids get ready for school, article by Sarah Ferguson Niagara This Week - Welland.

Snacks n’ Sneakers returns to help Welland kids get ready for school

By Sarah Ferguson Niagara This Week – Welland
Saturday, August 19, 2023

When parents are already struggling to make ends meet, preparations for going back to school can be an overwhelming experience.

But there is help for families who need extra help making sure their kids have all the necessities on the first day back to school.

The Hope Centre has once again teamed up with Canadian Tire to provide the Snacks n’ Sneakers program.

Families in need are invited to the Hope Centre at 570 King St., on Aug. 22, from 9 a.m. until noon, and 12:30 p.m. until 4 p.m., to receive school supplies including a new pair of shoes, a week’s worth of snacks and a backpack.

Quantities are limited and available on a first-come first-served basis while supplies last.

Since the inception of the program, Snacks n’ Sneakers has helped thousands of kids in kindergarten all the way to Grade 12 start off the year on the right foot.

“We are pleased to announce that this year we will be providing each child with a new backpack,” said Jennifer Sinclair, the Hope Centre’s community engagement co-ordinator.

“We are thankful to the Welland Optimist Club for their commitment to bringing out the best in kids. They provided the funds needed to purchase backpacks for over 300 kids in Welland.”

ServiceMaster Restore of Niagara also contributed a monetary donation to the back-to-school program enabling the Hope Centre to support an additional 70 children living in Welland.

Additional funds to support the program were provided by the Kacey Lynn Fund (Mary Dolan), Rotary Club of Welland, Rinker Plumbing Services and individual donors.

“We are grateful for the generous support that we received to enhance our back-to-school program and to help even more children in our community start their school year off on the right foot,” Sinclair said.

To qualify for back-to-school support children, aged four to 18, must be residents of Welland. A parent or caregiver will need to provide identification for everyone in the household including documentation of a Welland address.

Sinclair said clients of the Hope Centre have been notified of the program. For information on how to donate, visit

The Seaway Mall has also launched its annual Backpack 2 School campaign in support of the YWCA, which kicked off on Aug. 14 and continues until Sept. 1.

The YWCA of Niagara is a non-profit organization that provides shelter, food and assistance to women and families in need.

Individuals can purchase school supplies and drop them off at the bus display in the mall beside customer service. The most-needed school supplies includes lunch pails, reusable water bottles, over-the-ear headphones, pens, pencils, notebooks and gift cards.