(Welland, Ontario) August 31, 2018 – More than 80 children will have the opportunity to have an equal start to the school year, thanks to the Seaway Mall Community who donated school supplies, following the mall’s Back –Pack- 2 School Initiative.

The supplies were delivered to the YWCA Niagara, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing shelter, food and assistance to women and families in poverty. School supplies were also delivered to the Welland Neighbourhood Project, an organization committed to reducing the impact of poverty on the East side of Welland. They are well-known for working with local agencies and service groups to provide after-school and recreational programs, free dental care and literacy initiatives.

Last year, the YWCA Niagara gave shelter to more than150 children who had to stay at the Emergency Shelter. They also provided off site transitional housing units to 63 children and their families, helping children find a secure place to sleep and providing them with lunch during the school year. This year, YWCA Niagara is home to more than 50 children. After receiving the donations, YWCA’s Community and Public Relations Coordinator, Franziska Emslie, wrote on Seaway Mall’s Facebook page, “We cannot wait to show the kids in shelter all of the amazing BACK TO SCHOOL items that have been donated.”

“We believe children deserve an equal start to the school year and therefore decided to show them their community is willing to help them out,” said Mike Belcastro, President of the Seaway Mall. “It’s amazing how, once again, we see the community come together to help one another,” he continued.


The Back-Pack-2 School Initiative came to life after a meeting with the YWCA Niagara. At the time, Franziska explained how homelessness affects children in unique and sometimes ways. She said, children “may not be the ones who have to worry about how to pay the bills or how to find an affordable apartment. For them, it is the little things. For them, homelessness means going to school with their lunch packed in a paper bag rather than in one of the colourful lunch boxes the other children have…”

A week after the meeting, the Seaway Mall asked the community to help less fortunate children and their families have an equal start to the school year by donating school supplies.

“When we heard that something as simple as not having a lunch box could single out kids in a bad economic situation, we knew we had to help,” said Mike Belcastro.