Annual backpack giveaway helps Saskatoon households with back-to-school requirements

The Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) held its seventh annual backpack giveaway at the White Buffalo Youth Lodge on Friday.

Those who attended were given not just free backpacks, but also school supplies, cleaning supplies, haircuts and food. There was also a COVID-19 vaccine popup clinic.

The lineup stretched for blocks outside of the youth lodge.

“What we’re here to do is make a difference in our community and really bring people together that have a need for education,” STC Chief Mark Arcand said.

The STC had 2,000 backpacks to give away, as well as back-to-school supplies like coloured pencils, notepads and craft supplies.

Arcand said sponsors of the event were on location to hand out supplies, showing them first-hand the impact their donations make.

“Now you can talk to other companies and other sponsors and say ‘Come and be part of this’ because you get to see the impact of where your investment is going,” Arcand said.

Tiffani Machiskinic said she and her kids have attended the backpack giveaway in the past, getting a leg up on the upcoming school year.

“It helps save a lot of money because last year I bought all their school supplies and it cost me $250,” she said.

Machiskinic said it’s also a fun activity for her kids.

“We’ve been cooped up all year round and they had anxiety coming here today, but it was all through excitement and stuff,” Machiskinic said.

Machiskinic’s son, Drake, got a free haircut to make sure his look was back-to-school ready.

“Cool, kinda cool, fun,” Drake said about the event.

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