With back to school this month and many families struggling to keep afloat with the soaring cost of living, a local employer is paying it forward with a new backpack initiative.
Owner/Operator, Kyle Drake, took over the local McDonald’s market on April 1st, 2023. In September, the company is donating backpacks filled with school supplies to employees who are in school or have children/grandchildren in school.
“My wife, when she first immigrated, was a refugee from Bosnia. When they landed, unfortunately, they didn’t have enough money for school supplies – it was an expense,” explained Drake, “It’s an initiative we thought of to give back to everyone from highschoolers, to parents, to grandparents.”
Alexandra Morris (Market People Lead) helped come up with the idea for the program and was key in its organization and execution. Morris began working for McDonald’s in Northern Prescott at 15 years old and after going to college, recently accepted her new role in Cornwall. Her experiences growing up in a large family meant this project hit home for her also.
“My mom was a single mom when I was growing up and I remember we would always have a really hard time going back to school. I remember going to school and having to pay attention to the prices of things, having to rip old notebook pages out, use short pencils,” Morris told Seaway News, “I excelled fantastically when I was in college [receiving OSAP], but when I was in elementary school and high school, I would have probably done a lot better if I had the resources that I needed.”
So far, the initiative has received a lot of appreciation and positive feedback. One McDonald’s employee, a 17-year-old living on his own, was grateful to have one less expense to cover in a difficult economy.
“It really reflects our values too,” added Drake, “I take care of my people. That’s the only thing I want to do. First of all, it’s a safe workplace, but it’s a happy workplace; somewhere you can have fun. You can enjoy your time here; you work hard but it doesn’t feel that way.”