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StartProud! School Supply Program Equips Students for Learning

Categories: Giving Back

We have proudly partnered with Office Depot’s back-to-school initiatives for many years, donating more than $500,000 in support the company’s programs. And now, for the second year in a row, we are participating in the Office Depot Start Proud!™ school supply program, which helps foster brighter beginnings for schools in low-income communities nationwide, and to give students, parents and teachers the supplies they need to start the year confident, prepared and proud.

This year, Domtar partnered with Office Depot to bring classroom supplies and 9,000 backpacks filled with essentials to students and teachers in nine school districts in Arizona, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Washington State. Together, we held Start Proud! school supply program celebratory rallies at each school to distribute products and get students and teachers excited about the new school year.

“Every child deserves to start their school year equipped with the school supplies needed to set them up for success and achievement,” says Katie Varrassi, Domtar sales manager. “As Superintendent Winston stated at the Joseph W. Grier Academy event, it takes a village. To have organizations like Office Depot and Domtar, as well as nonprofits like Classroom Central, and the many educators and volunteers partner together — it makes one feel like anything is possible when connected in community.”

Katie Varrassi, Domtar sales manager, speaks to students at Joseph W. Grier Academy during the Office Depot StartProud! school supply program event in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Paper and Packaging Board’s Fourth Annual Back-to-School Report found that paper continues to be the preferred productivity tool among students, teachers and parents. In fact, 94 percent of college students and 89 percent of students in grades 7 through 12 say paper is essential to helping them achieve their academic goals. That’s one reason why school supply programs like StartProud! are so important.

Two Domtar employees (Kelly Augustin (left) and Melissa Capwell) prepare backpacks for students during Office Depot’s StartProud! school supply program event at Joseph W. Grier Academy in Charlotte, North Carolina.

According to the New York Post, public school teachers spend nearly $500 of their own money every year to pay for school supplies for their students to use. To alleviate some of this burden, the Office Depot StartProud! school supply program has donated pallets of classroom essentials for teachers at each of the back-to-school events.

Students from Joseph W. Grier Academy receive new backpacks for the school year.

“This means so much to our students and their families,” says Joseph W. Grier Academy’s school counselor LaShica Hemingway. “It allows them to start the school year prepared and fully equipped to learn new, great things.”

Learn more about our community investment programs, and other school supply programs that we support to distribute classroom essentials to students and teachers: