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Press release from CNW Group

Bell Aliant employee program eases back-to-school burden for families in need

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Bell Aliant employee program eases back-to-school burden for families in need

10:15 EDT Thursday, August 08, 2013

Employees and Bell Aliant Pioneers work together to fill 10,000 Backpacks for Kids this year

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HALIFAX, Aug. 8, 2013 /CNW/ - The Bell Aliant Backpacks for Kids program will provide 10,000 backpacks for elementary school-aged children in need this year so they can start the year right. The employee program sees Bell Aliant purchase the backpacks while employees and retirees work together to raise money for the school supplies. Community partners then help distribute the backpacks.

Backpacks for Kids is grounded in the belief that when many people contribute, they have the power to accomplish something far greater than they could on their own. Since it began in 2003, the Backpacks for Kids program has seen close to 28,000 backpacks full of school supplies delivered to school children in need  through community partners in Atlantic Canada, Ontario and Quebec. Last year alone, close to 8,000 children benefitted from the program and this year the program aims to help 10,000.

"I am so proud of the Bell Aliant team. Every year I am moved by the compassion and commitment to help kids in need start the school year off feeling confident and ready to learn," says Karen Sheriff, president and chief executive officer. "We don't do it alone though. It truly takes a community. In addition to our employees and retirees, we work with community partners and our suppliers to provide real resources to children who otherwise would not have what they need to start the school year."

The program provides important support during a difficult time of year for many families. Purchasing back-to-school necessities often makes it challenging for families to afford the basics, like food and other payments, but educators report that children who are able to start the school year with the supplies they need are more confident and have a better chance of success all year long.

A significant part of the program's success lies in its community roots. Each year, Bell Aliant is able to reach the children most in need through strategic partnerships with community groups across the region.

  • "When I walk down the hall with a full backpack in hand, the look of gratitude and relief on parents` faces is more than I can put into words.  The people who donate supplies - whether it's  the Bell Aliant Pioneers or the lady down the street donating a binder and some pencils - it all makes a difference to the families in need." - Sarah MacMaster, Maggie's Place, Amherst, NS.

  • "Every student should look forward to going back to school without having to worry about whether or not they will have everything they need. How exciting for a young student to open up a brand new backpack stuffed with crayons, scissors, markers, glue, paper, books, rulers and more - all the tools they need for a successful start to school.  Thank you to everyone who made this happen!" - Carole Murphy, Anglophone East School District, NB.

  • "August is the busiest month at food banks. Some people think it's December but really it's the month of August. Parents are getting ready for back to school, they're challenged: do they buy groceries or do they fill the kids' backpacks for school?" - Diane Swinemar, Executive Director, FEED Nova Scotia.

  • "It's heart-warming to see the kind, friendly faces of the Bell Aliant employees and Pioneers arrive at my school with Backpacks that really help children in need. This kind act goes a long way in building a child's confidence." - Robert Bishop, Holy Redeemer School, Spaniard's Bay, NL

Contribute to the Bell Aliant Backpacks for Kids program online by visiting bellaliantbackpacksforkids.ca. Contributions are also accepted at most Bell Aliant stores in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.  One hundred per cent of money raised goes directly towards buying school supplies to fill the backpacks purchased by Bell Aliant.

Contributions can be made until September 7.

www.facebook.com/BellAliant
www.twitter.com/Bell_Aliant

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. 

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Video with caption: "Video: Bell Aliant reminds people that it takes a whole community to help some kids have what they need to start the school year right". Video available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgwaBS4r9D0&feature=share&list=UUbVYzyDLnZaQbwNu9mcZZPA

Video with caption: "Video: Bell Alaint CEO, Karen Sheriff, shares a message about our employee-driven Backpacks for Kids program. Help us fill #10thousandbackpacks". Video available at: http://youtu.be/I3OUTZaGOVI

Image with caption: "Bell Aliant employees filling Backpacks for Kids. (CNW Group/Bell Aliant Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130808_C4444_PHOTO_EN_29616.jpg

Image with caption: "Bell Aliant employees filling Backpacks for Kids. (CNW Group/Bell Aliant Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130808_C4444_PHOTO_EN_29617.jpg

Image with caption: "Bell Aliant employees filling Backpacks for Kids. (CNW Group/Bell Aliant Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130808_C4444_PHOTO_EN_29618.jpg

SOURCE: Bell Aliant Inc.

For further information:

Media Relations:
Katherine VanBuskirk
Toll-free: (855) 487-3040
katherine.vanbuskirk@bellaliant.ca

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