Tools for School - United Way Alberta Capital Region

Tools for School

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

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Every Student Deserves an Equal Start to the School Year

In some areas of the Edmonton region, 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 18,316 backpacks and kits to students in need — a value of over $1.1 million! With an unprecedented 25 per cent growth in demand for the program in 2023, we expect to support even more students this school year — especially with the influx of new residents to our region.

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 from August 11 – September 22, 2024. 

Donate to Tools for School

Make a social statement and create an immediate positive impact for local students and families. Because of corporate sponsors and community donors, United Way is able to quickly and effectively cover shortfalls in school supplies donated to the Tools for School program at area collection sites. Thanks to your support, each school year, thousands of low-income children in the greater Edmonton region start school on an equal footing with their peers.


What We Achieved in 2023

Local Staples stores and customers raised $120,000


18,316 backpacks and kits were distributed to students.


23,485 in-kind items were collected through product drives.

574 volunteers

574 volunteers gave 1,108 hours to fill backpacks with supplies.

Our Partners

Smiling girl sitting at desk in class room and looking at camera. Portrait of young Black schoolgirl studying with classmates in background. Happy smiling pupil writing on notebook.

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]