PAGC Urban Services back to school event fills community need

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald A worker organizes backpacks during the PAGC Urban Services Back to School Event at the Margo Fournier Centre on Wednesday.

The Margo Fournier Centre was a hopping place on Wednesday afternoon as Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) Urban Services hosted a Back to School Event that allowed families get much needed supplies before school starts on Sept. 2.

PAGC Urban Services Emergency Measures Pandemic Coordinator Natalie Guimond said they try to put together a yearly event to supply children from low income families with everything they need to go back to school.

“That’s the community and the togetherness that you really need to have during this pandemic,” Guimond said.

“That’s why we are seeing all of our people coming through is that this is definitely filling a need.”

Guimond added that was great to see so many people come through their doors.

“What this does is it brings us all together in a very safe way,” she explained.

Along with school supplies, students were able to get personal protective equipment, and free haircuts.

Guimond said the event will help families avoid having to make tough decisions before the school year begins.

“(By) being able to connect our families to the school supplies and with haircuts, what we are doing is moving an obstacle in their first day of school. They can enter into the school feeling fresh and feeling motivated because they are able to get those items that they might have otherwise had a hard time (getting).”

She said it’s also a great way to get people involved in the community.

“A lot of our hairdressers are moms too, and they are making beautiful hair art,” Guimond said.

The back to school event did steady business all day, with an average of 60 people per hour coming through the doors when they opened at 10 a.m. Guimond said they expected around 560 people attend throughout the day.

“The programming is geared for the community and with that programming and whatever that service is, (Urban Services) will do their best to connect you to it,” she explained.

People were sent through in groups of 20 at a time and went through the various stations. The lineup outside the Margo Fournier Centre stretched to the sidewalk.

“Our individuals will receive personal protection equipment and then they are registered for their backpack or their binder–backpacks for our younger children and binders for our high school students. Then they are able to go through and pick up their school supplies and then with the Community Cares Kitchen, which is one of the programs with Urban Services, we provide the snack bags, so you are getting a weeks worth of food,” she said.