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Byron Shire
March 6, 2021

Vinnies and the Square getting kids off to a good start

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Lismore Shopping Square’s manager Karen Hugg and operations manager Matthew Doherty (left &
right) collect the final Operation Backpack donations with Vinnies worker Melanie Hardie and her son Charlie Hall.

For the second year, the St Vincent De Paul Society and the Lismore Shopping Square have teamed up to help families doing it tough, get their kids back to school with everything they need.

Both groups saw the need to help families in the area who have suffered because of the 2019 bushfires – the aim of the  project was to provide practical help to alleviate some of their stress by ensuring their children can get back to school with all the necessary equipment they will need to get them started on a successful year

Donors were asked to drop backpacks, pens, pencils, highlighters, rulers, erasers, glue sticks, lunch boxes, water bottles, clear contact, note pads and pencil cases into the Operation Backpack box at the shopping centre.

Hundreds of local families helped

Vinnies’ rep Linda Williams expressed her gratitude to Lismore Shopping Square and the many shoppers who gave to the local Operation Backpack appeal. ‘This has helped several hundred local families provide their primary-aged children with essential back-to-school supplies for the start of the 2020 school year,’ said Ms Williams. ‘Priority is being given to schools in areas affected by the bushfires.’

Donated school items were given to the appeal by shoppers throughout January and have been distributed by St Vincent de Paul Society community workers.

Ms Williams and Lismore Shopping Square’s Karen Hugg thanked shoppers for their generosity, saying this year’s appeal was even more successful than last year’s.

‘We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has helped out,’ said Ms Williams. ‘Vinnies assists many local families who are doing it tough, and the recent fires have made life even more difficult.

Important for kids to have the right equipment from day one

‘It’s so important for kids returning or starting school to have the right equipment from day one, and Vinnies is in close touch with local primary schools in areas of identified social need. We really appreciate the ongoing commitment of Lismore Shopping Square and everyone who shops locally.’

Karen Hugg said the appeal is a wonderful partnership between a major retail complex and one of

Australia’s most respected charities. ‘We are so pleased to be helping local families in need, especially those impacted by the bushfires.’

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