Get behind some great kids with this backpack challenge at Union Station

While one backpack may seem the same as the next – especially as a new school year begins – for a local family struggling to afford the essentials needed for class, that single bag can help educate a child.

We’re going to take some weight off your shoulders, by giving you the opportunity to take part in an innovative, feel-good initiative.

As local parents begin to gather up needed supplies for the upcoming school year, the reality is that many families struggle to afford all the things an average student needs. It all adds up.

But there’s strength in a common good cause.

GO Transit Safety is supporting Waterloo Police’s Backpack Challenge by collecting new backpacks, lunch bags and school supplies.

Transit safety staff line up and pose with backpacks.

Backing a good cause. From left to right – Transit Safety Officers David Demelo and Alex Guerra, Bill Grodzinski, Transit Safety Director, and Transit Safety Officers Donna Fraser and Darnell Beezer. Photo by Amandine Viaud

Alex Guerra, a GO Transit Safety Officer involved in the Waterloo community, reached out to his sergeant.

“I thought about how my three backpacks could be more if I could get my employer on board,” Guerra says.

“Even if it is ten backpacks, it is still seven more than I can afford. Coming from a background where I didn’t have new school supplies every year, I am now fortunate and I want to use my position within GO Transit to motivate others help the community.”

Bill Grodzinski, director of Transit Safety, thought it was only natural to ask customers to also get behind the cause.

“Almost 300,000 people come through Union Station every day, and if one per cent were able to donate a backpack, we would have many and we won’t know what to do with them,” Grodzinski says. “This is about partnership and relationship with the police service, giving back to the community and employee engagement.

“We work with communities and each of them has specific needs, and in this case, it is school supplies.”

Come meet Metrolinx’s Transit Safety officers and donate school supplies at Union station’s York Concourse next Wednesday (Aug. 28).

As Waterloo Regional Police’s challenge ends on August 21, all donations collected by Metrolinx after that date will be donated to children’s services across the Greater Golden Horseshoe region.

Can we count on you to add some items on your checklist to help children in need start the school year off on the right foot?

And for safety’s sake, GO Transit would like to remind you to carry your backpack in your hands in crowded areas and platforms to avoid danger.

 

Story by Amandine Viaud, Metrolinx Communications Coordinator.