Illustration of a young woman in front of an orange background smiling and holding an armful of school supplies.

Illustrations By Michele Perry

6 back-to-school shopping finds that give back

Your kids will need new lunchboxes, stationery and clothes anyway—you may as well choose products that help kids at home, and abroad

September is just around the corner, which means it’s time to outfit the kiddos with new gear. But did you know that you can help children in need when shopping for school supplies? We’ve rounded up the companies that give back to children living in lower-income households—a population of nearly 1.2 million in Canada in 2015, according to Statistics Canada—so that you can shop for a cause this season.

Photo of a pink t-shirt on a white background with the phrase

Tee Time

The item:Home Is Toronto Varsity Kids T-Shirt, Peace Collective, $30
Why it’s great: Not only is this shirt made of one hundred percent cotton, it’s available in unisex sizing to fit kids up to 8 years old.
Who it helps: For every piece sold, Peace Collective donates two meals to a child in need through its partnership with Breakfast Club Canada, which helps feed students in more than 1,500 schools across the country.

Photo of a blue Tom's shoe with a velcrow strap

If the Shoe Fits

The item: Blue Global Embroidery Chambray Tiny Toms Classics, Toms, $45
Why it’s great: These comfy kicks are vegan, plus they have elastic details that make it easy for little ones to slip them on and off.
Who it helps: Through Toms’ “One for One” program, for every pair of shoes sold, the company gives a pair of new shoes to a child in need. To date, they’ve donated more than 75 million pairs in over 70 countries worldwide.

Photo of a green zipped lunch bag on a white background.

In the Bag

The item: Dome Lunch Bag, Hilroy, $16
Why it’s great: This large insulated lunch bag comes in a fun polka dot or camo print to make it stand out in the crowd.
Who it helps: Hilroy is giving back to Canadian children from low-income communities through a unique social media contest. The company will donate school supplies to Start 2 Finish for every post using the hashtag #Hilroy100Challenge. This organization provides children with school supplies, so they can succeed in the classroom.

Blue spiral-bound notebook which the phrase


The item:We Give School Supplies notebook, Me to We, $18
Why it’s great: This colourful notebook is made in Canada from 100% recycled materials.
Who it helps: The purchase of this notebook supports Me to We’s educational program. Their mission is to provide necessary resources and supplies, like pencils and books, to students in developing countries.

Photo of a white t-shirt with an illustration of a fish with the text

Art Attack

The item: Leeloo’s Catch T-shirt, Camp Brand Goods x Leeloodles, $40
Why it’s great: This T-shirt features a design by 10-year-old artist Leeloominai Monleon, who started drawing prints and making T-shirts as gifts for family and friends in 2016. Now, she has an online store that ships worldwide, and she’s teamed up with Calgary’s Camp Brand Goods to produce this limited-edition tee.
Who it helps: $10 from each sale will be donated to This Toronto-based organization helps provide arts education programs to children in need, ranging from music to videography to digital art.

Photo of a dark blue jean backpack with brown leather detailing and a front pocket.

Put Your Back into It

The item: Refined Backpack, Vessel, $216
Why it’s great: Okay, maybe this is the backpack you buy for yourself. It’s made from hard-wearing premium canvas, which means it will last a long time—and the stylish design will make toting your gym clothes, lunch and work computer on the bus or train just a little more chic. The padded laptop sleeve is an added bonus!
Who it helps: For every bag sold, Vessel gives a backpack to a child in need through its “Buy a Bag, Give a Bag” program. Since it started, more than 26,000 bags have been distributed to children around the world.

Make a difference now:
• Share this story with your friends and family!
• Sign up for The Good News Letter to get more stories like this in your inbox every Saturday.