Tools for School - United Way Alberta Capital Region

Tools for School

For almost thirty years, Tools for School has helped provide backpacks full of school supplies to vulnerable students, reducing one known barrier preventing children from successfully participating in school.

Every Student Deserves an Equal Start to the School Year

In some areas of the Edmonton area, the need for backpacks filled with school supplies is as high as 8 in 10 students. When we provide equitable access to basic needs, we can make sure every child has the chance to succeed.

Last year, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region distributed 16,289 backpacks and kits to students in need — a value of over $670,000. In 2023, we expect to support even more students as demand continues to grow.

Donate Supplies

Sometimes you want to give a tangible item. You can be confident knowing the supplies you donate go directly to students in need.

All supply donations must be new and unused. To ensure students are not identified as accessing the program, donations of corporate-branded promotional items cannot be accepted.

  • Backpacks
  • 1”-2” Binders
  • Coiled Notebooks
  • Lined Paper
  • Pencil crayons
  • Washable markers
  • Wax crayons

Program Approved Supply Lists

United Way’s Tools for School program distributes school kits in three standardized grade categories, each with a list of required supplies compatible with participating school divisions. Download our printable list!

Drop-Off Locations and Product Drives

School supply donations can be dropped off at United Way’s InKind Exchange at 14710 – 112 Ave, Edmonton, by appointment only. Please call 780-990-1000 to book your drop-off time.

Drop-off bins will also be conveniently available at Staples locations  in August.


Donate to Tools for School

Make a social statement and support brands delivering positive impact. Through corporate sponsors and community donors, Tools for School provides vital school supplies to set students up for success from day one. Annually, thousands of low-income children in the greater Edmonton region start school on an equal footing with their peers, thanks to Tools for School.

What We Achieved in 2022

Local Staples stores and customers raised $135,000+


16,289 backpacks and kits were distributed to students.


The total fair market value of in-kind donations was $677,785.

298 volunteers

298 volunteers gave 735 hours to fill backpacks.

Our Partners

Need a Backpack for a Student?

We provide backpacks filled with school supplies to students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 in the Alberta Capital Region who may have limited access to necessary supplies.

If a student in your life needs to access the Tools for School program, we ask that you contact the student’s school and let them know the student requires a Tools for School backpack.

If the student’s school is not participating in the Tools for School program, please have the school contact us. If you are a principal or teacher looking for backpacks for your students, email us at [email protected]