Antigonish County girl helping fellow students
Kenzie’s Backpacks expands to New Glasgow and Truro
TRURO, N.S. – “I just really like helping people and I know they need school supplies.”
That is the straightforward answer eight-year-old Kenzie Gormley gave when asked about starting an initiative, prior to the start of the 201819 school year, to help those in need with school supplies.
The campaign, run last year by Kenzie and her mom Sherise Pettipas with help from the Antigonish chapter of the International Order of Good Fellows, is assisted this year by Atlantic Superstore.
The support being provided by Atlantic Superstore is allowing the campaign to expand to Port Hawkesbury, New Glasgow and Truro. The IOOF chapters in those communities are following in the footsteps of their Antigonish members in giving support.
Atlantic Superstore has designated Kenzie their “backto-school ambassador.”
“She came to me when we were out school supplies shopping and wondered if she could supply a couple of backpacks and supplies for kids in need, to some place in town,” Pettipas said of the origins of Kenzie’s Backpack, the official title of the campaign.
“We did some investigating after we purchased all the supplies and couldn’t really find a definite distribution area, anybody who was really taking it on. Kids’ First had done it in the past, but they were not going to be doing it that year. We didn’t really have a place to drop the stuff off, so we decided we would be the people who would distribute the stuff.
“It just, kind of, grew from there; people made donations and we put together some backpacks.”
The initial goal was 30 filled backpacks, starting with the two Kenzie and her mom donated.
“I think we ended up with 75,” Pettipas said, “which was great.”
She added, with Atlantic Superstore coming on, “they’ve been, kind of, set up as a distribution centre.”
Kenzie, who is entering Grade 4 at Antigonish Education Centre where music is her favourite subject, was presented with an award by IOOF recognizing her “outstanding kindness.”
“I got a plaque,” Kenzie said, as a large smile crossed her face.
The best way to apply for assistance from the program is by visiting Kenzie’s Backpacks’ Facebook page or emailing kenziesback[email protected]look.com. There is a scale used to evaluate if a family qualifies.
“We’re going to accept applications right up to when school starts,” she said, noting it’s not a strict deadline as they’ll accept applications which trickle in after the year officially begins.
Eight-year-old Kenzie Gormley stands beside a large sign in the Antigonish Atlantic Superstore which promotes the program she inspired to help families in need with school supplies. Kenzie’s mom Sherise Pettipas is the administrator of Kenzie’s Backpacks which, this year, has expanded to help families in New Glasgow and Truro.