Canby Center Preps for Backpack Giveaway — Sans Backpacks

The 2020-21 school year already promises to be one unlike any in recent memory, but it’s still just around the corner. And that means so is The Canby Center’s annual giveaway of backpacks and school supplies.

And since school will certainly look different this year, it should come as no surprise that The Canby Center’s popular annual giveaway will be significantly modified as well.

Most obviously, the Backpack and School Supply Distribution will have no backpacks.

“The great thing about our distribution is that we give out backpacks, and kids are able to choose what backpack they want,” said Christina Sandoval, the center’s Thriving Together Program coordinator. “But we’re not doing backpacks now, since the kids aren’t really going to be going to school.”

Instead, the center will be focusing on supplies and accessories that will be better suited for the distance-learning environment that will characterize Canby schools for at least the first term of the 2020-21 school year.

“This year, we’re trying to do school supplies and make learning at home that much easier and try to replicate a school environment as much as we can,” Sandoval explained.

That includes whiteboards for home learning and new storage bins meant to replace the desks and lockers students won’t be able to get into for at least a few more months — along with the normal school supplies: notepads, pencils, etc.

The center may do a separate giveaway for backpacks when students are allowed to physically reenter school buildings later in the academic year.

Click to access BSSD-Flyer-2020-pdf.pdf

“I know, I can only imagine how difficult it is to be a student right now and learn a whole different system of learning,” Sandoval said. “We are really trying to make that transition easier, and equip students with the best school supplies that we possibly can.”

Registration is required before Aug. 20 to participate in the Backpack and School Supply Distribution. Previously required to be done on-site, registration is now being allowed in person or online at

The distribution will most likely be done in drive-thru fashion, the same model the center has pivoted to for its Harvest Share food program in the Covid era.

One thing that will not be different: the date. The giveaway has always been Aug. 27, from 5 to 7 p.m., and that will be the case this year.

Canby Police Lt. Jose Gonzalez and other volunteers distribute food at The Canby Center in April. Photo by Tyler Francke.

The local nonprofit has already had its own unusual spring and summer, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

Demand for its weekly food distributions more than quadrupled in March, while unemployment was skyrocketing across the state, and more recently, the center hosted a clothing giveaway to help clean out its overstuffed closet.

The Canby Center continues to do no-contact collections of clothing and shoes at the shed located in the center’s parking lot.

“Our clothing racks are full thanks to the community,” Sandoval said. “We are thankful for everyone who has taken clothing and shoes to the shed in our parking lot to drop off their items.”

She said donated items are thoroughly inspected twice to ensure only the best goes out on the racks. Everyday toiletries are also available to Thriving Together members.

“I am grateful for the clothing share program, because I have small children and since they grow so fast,” one member told the Canby Now Podcast. “I am able to get clothing and diapers for them, without it being a financial burden.”

A member of the Thriving Together program shops for clothes at The Canby Center. The center’s clothing racks are full thanks to donations from the community. Photo courtesy The Canby Center.

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