HELP THOSE IN NEED: Lismore mayor Isaac Smith with St Vincent de Paul Society Lismore special works manager Linda Williams, and Breaking the Barriers co-ordinator Malnie Hardie with Lismore Square marketing manager Hannah Ivan launching Operation Back Pack at the Lismore Square. PHOTO: Marc Stapelberg
HELP THOSE IN NEED: Lismore mayor Isaac Smith with St Vincent de Paul Society Lismore special works manager Linda Williams, and Breaking the Barriers co-ordinator Malnie Hardie with Lismore Square marketing manager Hannah Ivan launching Operation Back Pack at the Lismore Square. PHOTO: Marc Stapelberg

Help provide school supplies to fire-affected students

GETTING ready to buy pencils, rulers, lunch boxes and other supplies in the lead up to the new school year?

Then consider grabbing an extra set for Operation Backpack, a campaign launched this week by Lismore Shopping Square and Vinnies.

It is an easy way to help students in need, and last year more than $12,000 worth of school supplies was donated by generous shoppers on the Northern Rivers.

In the lead-up to Term One, more than 100 local families with primary aged children will receive essential back-to-school supplies through the campaign.

The shopping centre’s marketing manager, Hannah Ivan, said Operation Backpack had been expanded to include families who had been affected by the region’s recent bushfires.

“Last year went really, really well and we’ve decided to take it that little bit further to try and help fire-affected families,” she said.

“They’ve gone through something really horrible and traumatic and we wanted to do something to help them getting their kids back to school just that little bit easier.

“Many families lost everything when their homes burnt, and we want to ensure that all affected households can get their kids back to school properly equipped.”

Ms Ivan said the focus of the campaign was to encourage shoppers to buy and donate essential school items such as backpacks, pens, pencils and textas, exercise books, lunch boxes and water bottles.

She said Vinnies was the perfect partner for helping distribute these essential school items because they were in touch with local primary schools in areas of identified social need.

“So many families are facing financial stress and helping reduce back-to-school costs is really important,” Ms Ivan said.

“It’s vital for kids to have the school equipment they need from day one.”

Vinnies program manager Linda Williams said items donated by shoppers can be placed in a collection box within Lismore Square for pick-up by Vinnies.

After launching on Monday, Operation Backpack will run until January 24.


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