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Back to School Nominations

August 13, 2021

We are excited to introduce the nomination recipients for our Back-to-School Thrift Store $100 gift certificates. Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit a nomination – we are so grateful to be part of such a supportive and caring community and we are thankful to be able to help these deserving students.

Week 1: Lily, Zoe, and Karissa

Lily – Fredericton, NB

“Lily will be starting Grade 1 in September and she is so excited! Her Mom, Holly, is a single mother who works very hard to give Lily a full-filling life. Lily and Holly have fun volunteering at the Oromocto SPCA and Holly is very thrifty with her money by buying secondhand clothing and toys for Lily. She saves what she can to put her into dance classes and soccer so Lily has extracurricular activities. They could sure use the gift certificate to help with school supplies and clothing.” – Lily’s grandmother

“We are so very grateful to have been chosen to receive this generous gift. We are all about buying secondhand items and donating back when we can! This gift will certainly put a big smile on Lily’s face, knowing it was specially given to her. It takes a village! From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for being part of ours and making this year’s back to school that much easier.” – Lily’s mom

Zöe – Montreal, QC

“[I nominated Zoe] because she is a sweet, 6-year-old girl who has a learning disability. Her mother regularly travels over 3 hours to and from her job everyday using public transit and her father is currently attending school himself. This young "lady" is pleasant, shy, and a smart cookie. This will be her first year in a public school and she could really use the help to pay for new clothes and supplies.” - Zoe’s grandfather

Back to School Nomination

Karissa - Aylmer, ON

"I have nominated my daughter because she is a single mother, starting school in September and has 2 boys (that will also be going to school) that she is raising on her own. She is struggling with little to no support yet she is extremely strong and willing to help anyone in need and expects nothing in return. I am legally blind and she helps me clean my house, takes care of me, runs me to all my errands. We live in separate households so for her to do that, it’s amazing while having 2 kids. She does way more than anyone could ask. I think it’s time she gets some help she deserves.” – Karissa’s mother

Week 2: Isabella, Brielle, and Kachi

Isabella – Ajax, ON

“I nominated my daughter Isabella as she has a great heart! She is 13 years old with a heart condition, ADHD, Autism, and Tourette’s but she never lets it hold her back! She has proven every doctor wrong after they said she would never read or write and she now does it at a university level! She does get bullied in school and has a hard time but she always just says maybe they just don’t know how to be a friend so she says I will keep trying to change their views! She is a guiding light of love and laughter filled with compassion and especially at this time the world needs more of that!” – Isabella’s mother

When doctors told Jacqueline that her daughter, Isabella, would never be able to read or write, she knew they could prove them wrong. Isabella went to speech therapy and a special school program for the first four years of school dedicated to speech and language. She studied long hours at school and at home, and is now able to read and write at a university level at just 13 years old.

In her free time, Isabella is busy practicing acts of service for others, like baking cupcakes and cakes for local first responders on a monthly basis.Isabella gives cakes and cupcakes to fire, EMS, and police because they never get a holiday like everyone else and they put their lives at stake every day for our safety,” says Jacqueline.

Isabella also donates her unused toys and clothes every few months to those in need after she started noticing a large population of people experiencing homelessness in her community. “We started collecting food, drinks, personal supplies and clothing for them,” says Jacqueline. “We also got sleeping bags. We do it three times a year but Christmas is Isabella’s favourite as she gives them small gifts. They light up that they are not forgotten.”

As she heads back to school this September, Isabella is most excited about learning new things – and going shopping at the Ajax Thrift Store. Says her mother: “Isabella is so excited to have won and really appreciates the gift certificate.”

Brielle – Winnipeg, MB

“Josianne, Brielle's mom, is a single mom. We've known Josianne since she was a baby, and she has severe fibromyalgia. Brielle is now 100% healthy and a vibrant 8-year-old! Unfortunately, Josianne can't work due to the severity of pain caused by Fibromyalgia and her and Brielle live with her parents. It's been really hard for Josianne not to have her own place and to be financially independent. We LOVE Brielle as our own Grand-daughter. She's so sweet, kind, funny & extra special to us. I LOVE shopping & surprising Brielle with up-to-date fashion just like what her friends at school are also wearing. School supplies & new clothes are expensive to say the least! If Josianne could receive a $100 Gift Certificate for school, this would be awesome! She would LOVE to go shopping with her Precious Little Girl! Please consider giving a $100 Gift Certificate to Josianne... She certainly deserves it & would be so appreciative!” – Brielle’s grandmother

Kachi - Etobicoke, ON

“Kachi came to Canada from Nigeria with his mom several years ago. This fall, he will attend school for the first time in his life (senior kindergarten). He is excited about this!  Since arriving here, his mom, Ify, has worked so hard to care for Kachi and his little brother, as the sole provider for her children. There have been many hurdles for her to overcome. She has shouldered this burden alone, often with financial hardship. It would be so wonderful for her to have an opportunity to buy some clothing and school supplies to get her son all ready for school!” – Kathy, family friend

Week 3: Aiden, Kuper, and Riley

Aiden – Hanwell, NB

“I have nominated Aiden because he is a good child. He has gone through a lot. His mother was only 17 years old when she had him and he lived mostly with his maternal grandmother but when Aiden was 2 1/2 years old his mother, grandmother and father figure was in a horrific car accident. Two of them lost their lives while Aiden’s mother mentally couldn’t get past the accident, leaving Aiden with his grandfather and I. Aiden struggles in school but the school works with him and we do our best to give Aiden what he needs.” – Karen, Aiden’s step-grandmother

At just nine years old, Aiden has already been through a lot in his young life. Aiden’s grandfather, Brian, has been caring for Aiden since his grandmother and father figure were tragically killed in a car accident when he was just two and a half years old. Aiden’s grandmother had been his primary caregiver after his mother struggled to care for him as a young parent.

Despite the challenges that he has faced, Aiden has a pet fish named Chip that he takes good care of, and he loves to play video games, especially Minecraft, Fortnight, and Mario. When he grows up, Aiden wants to be a Youtuber.

Aiden’s grandfather Brian hope to use this gift certificate to find a snowsuit and pair of boots for the winter at their local Fredericton Thrift Store to help Aiden through the winter. Good luck at school, Aiden – you can do it!

Kuper – Halifax, NS

“This young man has had a few rough years, from losing everything in a house fire, to his father leaving, having to surrender his emotional stress relief best friends (fur pups), because couldn't find housing that was pet friendly. I watched this boy emotionally have some very difficult days to none of his own choice/fault. He still fights the bad days the best he can, but puts a smile on his face and goes through another day without the unconditional love of his furry friends. He could really use a pick me up and would be so surprised and grateful. Thank you for the consideration of this fine young man that takes what is thrown at him with grace and strength. He is my hero!” – Kelly, family friend

After a difficult few years, Kuper is really looking forward to starting back at school this September – especially after his shopping trip at his local Bedford Commons Thrift Store in Halifax. “I am very happy,” said Kuper. “I found everything I need.”

As for what he wants to do when he graduates high school, Kuper knows that he wants to go to college but is not sure what exactly he is going to study. Good luck at school, Kuper – we know that you will do great!

Riley – Guelph, ON

“My son and grandson are currently homeless. This gift would ensure nice clothes for Riley to go back to school. Looking nice helps to keep other kids from asking why he doesn’t have a home. I know my son doesn’t have the means to outfit Riley for back to school, and this would take a load of stress off him.” – Monica, Riley’s grandmother

Week 4: Jessica & Khloe, Noah, and Evelyn

Jessica & Khloe – Nauwigawauk, NB

“[My daughter and I] are both students and I could use all the help I can get! Going back to school is costly, especially if you have more than one person returning to school. Having this gift certificate for back-to-school shopping helps save me money that I can put towards school lunches.”

– Jessica, Khloe's mom

Noah – Winnipeg, MB

“I start school September 1st, I haven’t been to school in over 15 years since I graduated high school. I am finally attending school and I am nervous and I feel my wardrobe is dated. Having this gift card could help me and my three sons who attend school too this fall. I would appreciate this so much.”

– Noah

Evelyn – Brantford, ON

“Evelyn's husband, Mel, has a physical disability and heart failure. Evelyn has had a stroke herself & other health issues. When Evelyn's son passed away, her daughter-in-law was unable to look after their 3 granddaughters. However, she & Mel have taken on the amazing care of the 3 granddaughters who are now 16 & 17. Evelyn is heavily involved with her community through volunteering. Her granddaughters are very excited to get back-to-school.”

– Lillian, Family Friend

Week 5: Katie, Cora, and Emma

Katie – Dartmouth, NS

“My daughter is raising two boys on her own, trying to maintain a house and provide healthy food while struggling on low-income work. When school comes or birthdays or Christmas she forgoes paying bills in order for the boys to have a new outfit and books and supplies for school. She needs help but she is more of a giver than a receiver. She passes down to her hand-me-downs to her other friends that are also in need, and she takes children in to help the mothers go for interviews or appointments.”

– Katie’s mother

Back to School Nomination

Cora – Burnaby, BC

“I have chosen to nominate Cora because she has struggled a lot over the last years. She is a single mom in university. Cora lost her job during COVID and has been struggling to make ends meet since this. Cora has a professional practicum coming in a few months which is the last piece of completing her schooling, she will have no income for this period and be unable to work, but must try to afford everything like food and rent, but especially daycare to be able to go to this practicum. This gift would help her immensely towards her goal of obtaining her social work degree.”

– Olivier, Family Friend

Cora is a single mother, raising her 3-year-old daughter on her own while also working towards a university degree. Cora is pursuing a social work degree to make a difference in the lives of others while providing the best life possible for herself and her child. After losing her job due to the pandemic, managing the expenses that come along with being a single parent and a student has been difficult for Cora.

“I am shocked and so thankful,” said Cora when she learned that she had been nominated. “Getting through school has been really rough and looking ahead is also stressful. This will help me so much. I really appreciate it.”


“Like everyone else, I have been staying at home due to COVID-19 for over one year. However, COVID has dealt a particularly severe blow to my family. Before the pandemic, my siblings and I were able to support my family and help as much as we could around the house. When my older sister contracted the virus, it made things around the house extremely challenging. My mom no longer trusted my siblings and I to pick-up easy jobs outside of the house, we were no longer allowed any unnecessary socialization, and were stuck. Unable to support our mom in the ways we wanted. She, instead, put on two jobs, risking her own life so that her kids would not have to. With my sisters being 21, 16 and 7… the two oldest can afford their own back-to-school supplies. That leaves me and my younger sister. Instead of asking my mom to buy them for us and to pick up more shifts, a gift-card could take so much weight off her shoulders. With me and my siblings schooling taken care of, she would finally be able to treat herself and catch the break that she deserves.”

– Emma

Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination! Discover more Back-to-School thriftspiration at