Sarah Thompson and Edie Holland stand alongsdie the donated backpacks. (Photo Submitted)

Women of Steel donate school supplies to local kids in need

The organization put together backpacks full of learning material for underprivileged youth

The Elk Valley’s Women of Steel (WOS) committee generously donated 90 backpacks full of school supplies to local underprivileged youth.

In years past, WOS ran a number of events to fundraise for the backpack campaign, however due to COVID-19 their 2020 fundraisers were cancelled.

“This year we could not fundraise in our normal ways, as we could not hold our Bus Stop Barbecues at the Elkview bus stop or our annual Women’s Golf Day event and silent auction at the Sparwood Golf Course due to COVID-19,” said Sarah Thompson, Women of Steel co-chair.

“We really wanted to keep the program going, and thought the need might even be greater this year.”

Thompson contacted the United Steel Workers (USW) District 3 Director, Steve Hunt, alerting head office about their inability to fundraise for the backpacks. Upon hearing about the situation, the USW head office alongside donations received from steel workers in Trail and Elkford provided the funds required to make the campaign possible this year.

Fernie’s IGS and the School Start program also helped provide supplies to fill the backpacks at a discounted price.

WOS is the woman’s committee operating through the USW Local 9346 union, representing the hourly workers at Teck Elkview and Coal Mountain. Their mission is to help local children and give back within the community.

This is the ninth year the WOS committee donated school supplies to children within the Elk Valley and the Crowsnest Pass.

Each June, the Sparwood Food Bank, Fernie Women’s Resource Centre, and schools in the Crowsnest Pass issue the WOC a list of required supplies for the upcoming school year, anonymously stating the grade and school of each child in need.

The Women of Steel committee packs the backpacks accordingly, sending them back to the organizations for distribution to families, ensuring that local children have everything they need to go back to school.

For more information on their committee, visit

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