It makes a big difference, walking into school on the first day with a new backpack and supplies, versus carting in the tattered bag from last year.

In Dufferin County, over 14 per cent of children under the age of five live below the poverty line. In low-income households, back to school shopping can mean the phone or hydro bill doesn’t get paid, or that there won’t be groceries in the fridge.

“If kids are having to worry about supplies,” said Jennifer Moore, executive director of Dufferin Child and Family Services (DCAFS), she explains it hinders their academic performance.

If they’re worrying about food, school supplies or proper clothing, Moore says that’s energy and focus they could be using to learn.