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As the new academic year begins, about 60% of students may go back to school without supplies in hand. For some families and teachers in lower-income communities, the cost of school supplies can cause significant stress and limit student achievement.
Domtar is committed to investing in relationships throughout communities – with our customers, with our neighbors, and with our schools. And each year, we invest in teachers’ and students’ needs alongside customers such as ODP Corporation and organizations like Classroom Central during back-to-school season.
Helping Students and Teachers StartProud!® with The ODP Corporation
Domtar is a longtime vendor partner of The ODP Corporation’s StartProud!® back to school program, which supports students and teachers at nearly 30 Title I elementary schools with school supplies and needed equipment.
Since 2018, Domtar has provided about $1 million to help students and teachers StartProud!. Additionally, Domtar sales and marketing team members have volunteered at StartProud! pep rallies at nine schools each year.
This year, nine StartProud! schools will receive $20,000 of in-store credit from Domtar for use in Office Depot and Office Max stores by teachers for supply purchases.
“Most teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies each year,” says Laurie Walker, channel marketing manager for Domtar. “We hope to relieve the strain on their own personal budgets by providing $20,000 to each of the nine schools Domtar supports through the StartProud! program, ensuring each classroom and student can be equipped for success.”
Turning Pencils – and Paper – into Possibilities with Classroom Central
Paper is important to education – that’s why Domtar was one of Classroom Central’s original supporting organizations. Our partnership continues to thrive with several touchpoints throughout the year, such as the Backpacks & Basics volunteering event.
Over the past 10 years, we have provided annual donations of office paper to Classroom Central in addition to annual financial and volunteer support, valued at more than $1 million.
Domtar volunteers spent an afternoon assembling 35,000 backpacks with hundreds of other volunteers from area organizations. The backpacks will be given to underserved students going back to school throughout the Charlotte, North Carolina, region, including districts in York County, South Carolina, where we have two locations.
Additionally, the employee-led Fort Mill Social Committee organized a 9 School Tools® supply drive for our corporate executive office. And in late July, our interns spent a half day at Classroom Central assembling sight-reading toolkits and presenting a $25,000 corporate donation on Domtar’s behalf.
“Our community is experiencing an increased demand for support in education, making it vital to unite and ensure that essential supplies reach the children who need them the most,” says Karen Calder, executive director of Classroom Central.
“Classroom Central is so grateful to longstanding partners like Domtar who provide much-needed paper for our area teachers along with financial and volunteer support.”
Supporting Employee-Led Back to School Projects with $2K Your Way, Donation Drives
Through Domtar’s $2K Your Way employee giving program and local volunteer efforts, students in Quebec, Washington County, North Carolina, and Ashdown, Arkansas, will go back to school with the supplies they need to start the academic year.
Providence Cloutier directed her $2,000 grant to the Maison de la famille Les Arbrisseaux to purchase school supplies for more than 100 underprivileged students in the Windsor, Quebec area. She and Johanne Guignard also organized a mill-wide school supply drive.
“When I was a kid, we were poor,” explains Cloutier. “I remember how financially difficult it was for my parents to buy new school supplies for me and my six siblings for back to school. Now that I can help, I don’t hesitate to do it.”
In Quebec, Michel Paquette directed his grant to the Fondation Christian Vachon, which equips students to succeed in school. Paquette also is leading Domtar’s participation in the foundation’s Memphremagog Challenge relay in mid-September, which is on pace to raise $30,000 – enough to cover the needs of at least four schools.
And at the Plymouth Mill, Diane White organized a $2K Your Way project to support the Washington County Schools Hungry Heroes program with food donations and volunteers. This program ensures elementary students facing food insecurity have nutritious meals to power their bodies and minds.
“By providing good quality foods to students, the goal is to address educational gaps that often exist due to food insecurities,” says White.
The Plymouth Mill also sponsored a back-to-school supply drive for local students.
At the Ashdown Mill, employees partnered with Harvest Regional Food Bank in Little River County to support their annual backpack program. The program provides backpacks filled with kid-friendly, shelf-stable foods to students who qualify for free school breakfast and lunch and are identified by their school as chronically hungry. In addition to filling 50 backpacks, employees donated $5,000 to the program to cover the cost of food for the rest of the year for backpack recipients.