Thieves steal backpacks donated for needy Nanaimo kids

Thieves steal backpacks donated for needy Nanaimo kids

 A heartless theft has shaken a Nanaimo charity just as it was preparing to give out school supplies to low-income families. The volunteer-run Fresh Start program outfits needy kids with new backpacks and haircuts to give them a boost for going back, but just days before the giveaway and school’s start, their storage locker has been broken into.  Skye Ryan reports. 

Dave Lawrence is shocked that thieves would steal donated back to school supplies from Nanaimo’s neediest children.

“This is a kids charity right it’s that much worse,” says the owner of That 50’s Barbershop and the founder of the Fresh Start: Back to School Program. “It’s just terrible.”

Just days before the big giveaway that outfits kids from low-income Nanaimo families with backpacks stuffed with school supplies and new haircuts, thieves have cut deep into the charities supplies by breaking into the storage locker below Lawrence’s Victoria Crescent barbershop.

“I rushed down here as fast as I could. I was just shocked,” says Lawrence.

Tiffany Joe’s family is one of the dozens in Nanaimo who rely on the charity for school supplies. “I’m speechless right now,” says the mother of three. “Wow that’s sad. It’s hurtful.”

In all, 20 stuffed backpacks were taken just days before the big Sept. 2 giveaway.

“To lose 20 right off the bat like that, it’s a huge blow for us,” says Lawrence. “And having to try to recoup that is just going to be super tough.”

So Lawrence is appealing for the community’s help in the form of donations of back to school supplies that can be dropped off at That 50’s Barbershop on Nanaimo’s Victoria Crescent.

As many as 150 kids, double that of last year, are expected to show up in the famous lineup that stretches around the block from That 50’s Barbershop every year.

Lawrence knows that while this is cutting it close, he hopes that donations will come in, in time, to ensure every chid in line goes home with a fresh start for the new school year.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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