School supplies are once again hitting the shelves of local businesses and students and parents will be gearing up for the year. For some families the cost of going back to school is a major stress that the Lacombe and District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is hoping to help out with.  

Tools for School and Shoes for School is back to help families and students feel confident about heading into the new school year.  

“Tools for School is a program that is set-up to give all kids equal opportunity to set their year in a good path with proper supplies and backpacks and lunch kits,” said Crystal Zens, Executive Director of the Lacombe FCSS. 

In 2021, 126 local children used Tools for School and 124 students received new school shoes. 121 students received a backpack and supplies. 5 students received a Chromebook rental and back pack. 

Families are encouraged to apply before the end of the month.  

“It's a very easy application and through the generous donors in our community, we can provide the startup school supplies for the year. All the kids get the same kind of starter kit for each school so they feel included and prepared to have a successful school year and we take donations and we take new supplies,” said Zens.  

Although they are hoping to get most applications in by the end of the month, if there is a need the organization will look to make accommodations.

“If there is a need our doors are always open for that. When we had a lot of new Ukrainian families in April and May, we set them up with school supplies and backpacks,” added Zens. 

Zens says donations are also needed for the Shoes for School program. Donations can be given online or at the Lacombe FCSS office located inside the Lacombe Memorial Centre. Donation bins for new school supplies can also be found throughout the community at local stores.  

During challenging economic times, the Lacombe FCSS is hoping lessen the burden on local low-income families and remove financial barriers for students as they head back to school. Based on family income the Lacombe FCSS may be able to help families out with school fees, busing fees, and also has Chromebook rentals. 

“It's been such an incredibly tough economic year for people and even the price of gas and the increase in utilities and food. If people are feeling stressed and if they've never asked for help before, please come in. It's a confidential process and we really want to take the stress off families and support the kids for a successful year of learning for sure,” added Zens. 

You can find an application for the program here.