Expensive back-to-school season means giveaways for families in need

Getting ready to return to the classroom is an expensive time of year for some families – and the high cost of school supplies can be stressful.

Montreal's Welcome Hall Mission is trying to make things easier with an annual school supply giveaway.

Each of the more than 2,500 students that will visit the mission on Tuesday and Wednesday will go home with a new pair of shoes and a backpack filled with school supplies. In total, more than 87,265 items will be donated to children.

The goal is to give the kids confidence and stability to start the school year off on the right foot.

There's a direct link between self-esteem, confidence and success said Welcome Hall Mission CEO Sam Watts.

"It helps students go back to school with their head held high," he said. "That's why we call it Rentrée la Tête Haute."

This is the first time in 18 years the demand at the event has gone down.

"One of the things we attribute that to is first; Montreal is in a full employment state. More and more people are able to find some work, which helps elevate them a bit out of poverty," said Watts. "The other thing is we've seen the Canada child benefit begin to have an effect."

Still, said Watts, any demand is too much.

"This is something that we shouldn't have to go and ask for donations in order to do. We should really be able to rely on our governments to come together to develop a program that works and frame the policy properly," he said.

The giveaway continues Wednesday, but parents were required to register in advance.

Watts said, though, that anybody in need can still reach out for help.