Backpacks for Deer Lake

Our outreach program “Backpacks for Deer Lake”, the first of our 60th Anniversary North of 60 projects, is off to a great start and a big THANK YOU to those who have generously donated.

Deer Lake is an Oji-Cree speaking First Nation reserve located several hundred kilometres north of Thunder Bay. It is located on Treaty #5 territory of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation. Prices for goods such as backpacks and school supplies are double, even triple, here. We do not have access to a variety of items here as well. We have one store on this reserve and when it comes to paying for food or school supplies, food wins out. Our students deserve the best education possible. These students live in Ontario, but due to historical injustices they have been denied the right to a good education. The backpack may be a small gesture but it will make a huge significance in their way of learning and developing. With your help, our students will have agency towards their own education. They will have access to the same materials as a student in the south.

What can I do?

Donations of new backpacks and school supplies will be collected at the entrance of the church through the months of July and August until Labour Day.  We are in need of small to large backpacks (15—17 inches) and school supplies such as note paper, pens, pencils, erasers, crayons, pencil crayons, glue sticks, binders, duo tangs , even non-perishable snack items, etc. Be on the lookout for those back to school sales!

If you want more ideas of what to fill your backpack with check out this list from Good Housekeeping. (Feel free to disregard the suggestion of where to buy the items online.)

For more information please contact Melodie Fitzpatrick  519-591-4450 or by email: 

You can also find out more about this project and other initiatives by visiting