Starting off a brand new school year can add up, but the Cochrane and Area Family Resource Network (FRN) has partnered up with Staples and the local Kiwanis Club to help ease the financial strain.

Coordinator for the Cochrane & Area Family Resource Network (FRN), Wendy Farnsworth said they're launching the annual Backpack program on Monday. 

"It provides students with a brand new backpack and the school supplies inside that are needed for going back to school. Staples and the Cochrane Kiwanis Club have provided us with plenty of backpacks to support families who just need the barrier of those financial costs to be removed. We can help families with that."  

They typically hand out upwards of about 100 backpacks, but Farnsworth said Staples is doubling that number this year. 

"All people have to do is call the Family Resource Network, and show proof of enrolment in a Cochrane or west Rocky View County school and provide a GST notice of assessment." 

The program has been operating in Cochrane since 2009. 

She said it sets families off on the right foot at the beginning of the school year. 

"We increase resiliency in families and build capacity. We're here to do as much as we can to help families succeed."  

If anyone from the public is wanting to help the FRN with the Backpack Program, Farnsworth said they will gladly accept cash donations. You can contact them at 403-851-2265.

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