Dozens of children went to work stuffing 500 backpacks with school supplies Saturday, to make sure arriving Syrian refugee children don’t fall any further behind in their schoolwork.
The Canadian student volunteers raised about $7,000 for the supplies, and the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board Foundation provided the backpacks.
The kids, ages 8-14, from the Islamic Cultural Center of Toronto, stuffed the bags with pens and pencils, notepads, calculators, and everything else a new student would need.
Two busloads of students traveled to Hamilton, Ontario’s Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School for the chore. They divided up supplies by age and school grades — elementary, middle, and high school — and loaded all the backpacks in under two hours.
“This is a fun way to get to do good deeds,” nine-year-old Mariam El Hewaily, told the Hamilton Spectator. “I’m happy we’re helping them.”
The backpacks will be kept at Macdonald Secondary until they are needed, handed out as refugee students arrive. The school has a student body representing more than 80 countries of origin and 50 native languages.