“It’s like Christmas!”

Some out-of-the-box thinking led to a box full of goodness for classrooms this year, as 54 Teachers’ Totes were delivered to each and every local school in Chatham-Kent. Stuffed with goodies for both teachers and students, the Totes can be used to help support all those returning to classrooms marked by ever-changing protocols as the COVID pandemic evolves.

“We wanted to support the efforts of the Youth Table’s BaCK to School Gift Card Program (formerly known as the Backpack Program). Because the uptake was off the charts this year (program registration maxed out in two short weeks) we established re-usable Teachers’ Totes to help make sure children who were unable to access the gift cards could still access supplies they need to have a successful school year,” explained Patricia Peters, Acting CEO of United Way Chatham-Kent.

The reusable Totes are packed full with supplies like pens, markers, and headphones to help make learning safe, smooth and equitable. Once empty, the Totes will be picked up, returned the Chatham-Kent Nonprofit Centre and stored until it’s time to fill and distribute them again next year.

Mme Pike, a Student Success Teacher at ESPC described the impact the Totes will make: “As soon as I opened the box, I instantly thought of many of my students who could benefit from these items. Running the school’s success centre, we encounter students coming from so many financial situations.”

The success of the program is thanks to our donors and the work of all the participants of the Youth Table, including Children’s Services who took a lead role this year. Coupled with the efforts of dedicated and energetic volunteers, this is another great example of what we can do together to help ensure no one is left behind.

Barb Van Eyk is one of those volunteers. “I’m so thankful I get be a part of this project and that we can gift these schools a little extra.” She says the Totes are causing a lot of excitement with school principals and adds, “Most have said it (receiving the Tote) is like Christmas!”




  • TOGETHER with your generous donations, we can fill the Totes again next year, purchasing important items for the classroom. With the support of local businesses like Staples, Giant Tiger, and Walmart, we get maximum bang for your buck and ensure your donation goes as far as possible.
  • TOGETHER we helped connect volunteers, The Youth Social Planning and Action Table, and CK Children’s Services to organize, pack, label and deliver the totes.
  • TOGETHER we put Van with a Plan to work, distributing the totes to schools throughout the vast geography of Chatham-Kent, to every single school.

Teachers’ Totes: UNITED we can. TOGETHER we did!

Let’s do it again next year!