High school math is an important foundation for so many future jobs and education opportunities. Imagine being a bright and ambitious student and not having a good scientific calculator, or having to share one or not having one at all. Imagine the frustration of a teacher with too few calculators in the classroom.
A parishioner of All Saints, King City considered those possibilities when it was found that Sharp Electronics had a large number of scientific calculators that had been returned as a result of a packaging problem. The problem was soon fixed, but there were 2,500 calculators that needed to be repackaged. Sharp Electronics generously donated those 2,500 calculators, and an equal number of clear plastic bags and new labels, to All Saints, with the proviso that the calculators were to be distributed to students and schools in need – not to be sold or used for fundraising.
The calculators arrived by the skid-load in mid-April. A crew of dedicated volunteers moved the boxes from the front entrance of the church to a room under the chapel, where they could be stored and repackaged. For three mornings, volunteers stuck labels on bags, put calculators into the bags and re-boxed them in units of 10, ready to be picked up or mailed. A seemingly daunting task went much faster than expected.
With the help of the King Township Food Bank, an organization called Life Corp, which coordinates food and surplus commodities for the food banks and shelters in York Region, were contacted. Life Corp sent out a message to all of its organizations regarding the donated calculators and All Saints received numerous requests. By May, 556 calculators had been distributed to local food banks, shelters and co-ops for their back-to-school programs. As well, churches assisting Syrian refugees received 158 calculators. Other charities that church members support have received 451 calculators, and they are now on their way to Jamaica, Guatemala and Burundi.
An All Saints parishioners involved in First Nations communities provided contact information for secondary schools in northern Ontario that could benefit; so far, 446 calculators have been transported to those schools. Discussions are underway with First Nation education authorities in Ontario’s far north to determine the possibility of distributing the remainder of the calculators to secondary schools there.
Submitted by Diana Armitage, a member of All Saints, King City.