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Press release from CNW Group

Bell Aliant's Backpacks for Kids program shifts into high gear to help 60 per cent more kids get the supplies they need for back-to-school

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bell Aliant's Backpacks for Kids program shifts into high gear to help 60 per cent more kids get the supplies they need for back-to-school08:12 EDT Wednesday, August 29, 2012Employees go above and beyond to fill 7,000 backpacks with supplies for kids in need in 6 provinces - surpassing last year's delivery of 4,400 backpacksHALIFAX, Aug. 29, 2012 /CNW/ - Thousands of children in need will start the school year on the right foot -- with a new backpack filled with school supplies. This summer, Bell Aliant employees and Bell Aliant Pioneer Volunteers set a goal to fill 6,500 backpacks and help even more kids than last year. They rose to the challenge and this week will deliver approximately 7,000 backpacks to 200 school and community-based organizations across six provinces. Each full backpack is valued at approximately $50, with a total value of $350,000."For the tenth anniversary of our Backpacks for Kids program, I issued a challenge to employees to help at least 10 per cent of kids in need by filling 6,500 backpacks with supplies to help them start the year off right," said Karen Sheriff, President and CEO of Bell Aliant. "At its heart, this program is about our employees working together to make a difference in the communities where we live. Our employees, Pioneer volunteers, partners and customers responded to the challenge in a big way and exceeded our goal. Their passion and commitment have made this the most successful year yet!"Bell Aliant's Backpacks for Kids is an annual program aimed at making back-to-school easier for children in need across the Atlantic Provinces, parts of Ontario and Quebec.  Bell Aliant purchases the empty backpacks, and employees and Pioneer volunteers adopt and fill them with supplies. Customers and partners also showed their support by donating at select Bell Aliant stores and online. Bell Aliant stores will continue to take donations until September 9, 2012 to purchase additional supplies.  Bell Aliant works closely with partner community organizations and elementary schools including organizations such as Saint John's Boys and Girls Club, and Hestia House, Moncton's Anglophone East School District (2) and District scolaire francophone Sud (1), the Fredericton Food Bank in NB; Single Parent's Association and Native Friendship Centre in NL; the Boys and Girls Club of Charlottetown in PEI; Centre de Bénévolat de Val-d'Or,QC, Children's Aid, ON; and Feed Nova Scotia, NS."There are so many parents in our community who struggle to make ends meet - and during back-to-school, that often means deciding between putting food on the table or buying school supplies for their children," said Diane Swinemar, Executive Director, Feed Nova Scotia. "We are so grateful for Bell Aliant's Backpacks for Kids program, which has made a real difference for our members for ten years."Bell Aliant's Backpacks for Kids program is employee-led and volunteer-driven. Since 2003, Bell Aliant employees, Pioneer volunteers, partners and customers have helped deliver more than 27,000 backpacks full of school supplies, valued at approximately $ 1.35 million.About Bell Aliant Bell Aliant (TSX: BA) is one of North America's largest regional communications providers and the first company in Canada to cover an entire city with fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology with its FibreOP™ services. Through its operating entities it serves customers in six Canadian provinces with innovative information, communication and technology services including voice, data, Internet, video and value-added business solutions. Bell Aliant's employees deliver the highest quality customer service, choice and convenience.Image with caption: "Lyne Caron and Sylvie Lemoine in stuffing backpacks for kids in Val-d'Or, Quebec (CNW Group/BELL ALIANT INC.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120829_C2223_PHOTO_EN_17319.jpgImage with caption: "Bell Aliant employees and Pioneer Volunteers Mary Sears-Sterling, Kristy Bhibah & Ethan Bhibah and Kyle Ward (CNW Group/BELL ALIANT INC.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120829_C2223_PHOTO_EN_17323.jpgImage with caption: "Halifax, Nova Scotia Employees and Pioneer volunteers like Alice Muise helped us donate a total of 7,000 backpacks to kids in need across 6 provinces (CNW Group/BELL ALIANT INC.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120829_C2223_PHOTO_EN_17321.jpgImage with caption: "The Bell Aliant office in Owen Sound presented the United Way of Bruce Grey today with 70 backpacks (CNW Group/BELL ALIANT INC.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120829_C2223_PHOTO_EN_17325.jpgImage with caption: "The Rotary Club of St. John's East sponsored 12 backpacks (CNW Group/BELL ALIANT INC.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120829_C2223_PHOTO_EN_17327.jpgSOURCE: BELL ALIANT INC.For further information: Sarah Dawson Bell Aliant 855-482-5541  sarah.dawson@bellaliant.ca