If you go around the schools at the end of the school year, youwill be amazed by the “enormous”quantities of waste generated
only by discarded school supplies that are often in very good condition, if not almost new! On the other hand, if you go around the stores, before the start of the school year, you will be even more terrified of the high prices of school supplies, mostly since many parents cannot afford to buy these “essentials” for their children!

Sadly, these two scenarios are very real and familiar to some of you. So how can we reduce this waste, give a second life to used school materials, while helping disadvantaged families? We found our answer to this question in the project “Collection of used
school Supplies at NDG” that started at the Éco-quartier NDG in 2016.

This project encourages mutual help in the community and the maintenance of a clean environment. Last year’s first edition was an unexpected hit, yet in 2017, the project has had an even better success, with even broader community involvement.
Thanks to the generous contribution of the YMCA-NDG, Loyola high school, Villa Maria high school, Saint-Luc high school,
Saint-Monica elementary school, Royal Vale elementary school and Lower Canada College elementary School, we picked up
more than sixty large boxes, all filled with a wide variety of reusable school supplies!

The residents of NDG did not miss our call and brought us the school supplies that were hanging around their homes without any use. With this simple gesture, they gave a second life to these objects by offering them to a child who will need them for his studies. The novelty for this year is the participation of the Éco-quartier Lachine who has offered us a generous amount of reusable school supplies. Their involvement was to encourage this good environmental and community movement.

So here we are, with boxes, boxes and boxes filled with all types of used school supplies that must be stored during the summer,
cleaned, sorted and delivered at the beginning of the school year 2017-2018. Since we do not have enough space at the Éco-quartier NDG to store this huge amount of used school equipment, we were facing a big challenge. However, members of the of St. Philip’s Anglican Church were to our rescue: We were provided not only with a room for storage during the summer,
but also a large space for sorting, cleaning and organizing the school effects with our volunteers.

Many thanks to Andrew, Carol, Reverend James, Andy and Tyrone, of the St. Philip’s Anglican Church, for their help
throughout this project. All the collected school supplies were sorted, cleaned and organized by our “super volunteers”: Olivia, Antoine-Maxence, Kassie, Mathieu, Alexia, Gabriel and Debra. Thanks to Robin for her help during the delivery. Thanks to Second Cup Loyola and Subway Somerled that generously provided us with beverages and snacks for our volunteers during
the school supplies cleaning activity.

After the cleaning and organization, the school materials were distributed to 9 NDG schools: Notre-Dame-de-Grâce elementary school, Saint-Catherine-de-Sienne elementary school, Saint-Monica elementary school, Judith-Jasmin elementary school, Anne-Hébert school elementary school, the Muslim elementary school, Les enfants du monde elementary school, Annexe Saint-Luc high school and the Muslim high school. In addition, the Westhaven, Walkley and St-Raymond community centers received school supplies for distribution in the community. Six NDG families contacted us to receive some supplies for their children. It was a great pleasure to lend a helping hand to these parents.

The project “Collection of used school supplies” is an opportunity to introduce our youth to the 3RV
principle (Reduction, Reuse, Recycling and Valorization) by reducing the purchase of new school equipment, often very expensive for parents, and the reuse of used school materials. This will allow them to contribute to reducing our waste (which often ends up in landfills) and play an important role in their community by helping the others.

My thanks go to the community, residents of NDG, schools, businesses, and organizations that have contributed to this project through their donations, accommodations, advice and encouragement.

Nouha Dhahri