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Trent student packs bags for a good cause

By Shelby Wye

Maddison Ellis is crossing her T’s and dotting her I’s as she helps families of Belleville register with the Good Backpack Program.

The Good Backpack is a project of the United Way of Quinte, where $10 from a family will purchase a backpack full of school supplies. The supplies, coupled with the backpack, can be worth up to $70.

Maddison Ellis, a second year Trent University student, has taken on the Good Backpack Project as her own this summer.

The project is aimed towards students in the Hastings and Prince Edward County school district, for students in JK to Grade 8.

The challenge right now is the low registration. In order to know how many bags they should fill, Ellis needs the names of families interested in getting a bag. Otherwise, their resources might be wasted.

There are around 1200 backpacks that are to be filled, but only 850 families have registered so far. Registration ends July 26.

“I’ve been putting posters up, I’ve blitzed Belleville with them and covered Trenton as well,” said Ellis.

Amy Watkins, the director of community support from the United Way, said that this is common for this project.

“People aren’t really thinking about school quite yet, after all, it just ended. So this leads to a lot of last minute registrations,” Watkins said.

Watkins pushes the fact that the United Way needs no financial records or anything to show income for families to register. This is just one way for families to stretch their budget a little farther.

Despite the current low registration, Ellis is very excited about her project.

“I feel everything’s going great so far, and it’ll be very satisfying once the backpacks are packed and the day when all the children come and get their back pack it’ll be very rewarding to see something I worked all summer on come together,” said Ellis.

“Maddie has really done the lion’s share of the work with the Good Backpack, checking all the numbers and amounts, and dealing with registration,” said Amy Watkins, the director of community support.

Businesses within the Quinte Mall and Staples have been supporting members of this cast, providing the backpacks to be filled and, later, will be hosting Stuff the Bus event, which will fill those backpacks August 10.