Progress for Mental Health, Mayor of Barrie, and John Tavares Team Up to Fill School Backpacks for Underprivileged Youth

BARRIE, ON – Progress for Mental Health (PFMH) along with the Providing Instruments for Excellence (PIE) Education and the John Tavares Foundation, headed by the Captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, John Tavares and his wife Aryne Tavares, came together to distribute school supplies in backpacks for underprivileged children in Barrie, Toronto, and Ottawa.

John Tavares, a well-respected and national hero of the National Hockey League, expressed his enthusiasm for the initiative as well as excitement to involve the John Tavares Foundation.

This year's initiative is able to provide over 3,300 backpacks to children filled with essential school supplies ensuring that the youth that are struggling to prepare for the upcoming school year are on the path to success.

“In taking part in this year’s initiative, we are able to provide 1000 backpacks to children in Ottawa alone,” said Brian Storseth, co-founder of PFMH, a Canadian charitable organization dedicated to enriching the lives of the one in five Canadians living with mental illness led by Brian and Amel Storseth. "I want to thank Mayor Nuttall, the John Tavares Foundation and PIE Education for giving us this opportunity to give back to our community."

“This initiative is the first of many that PFMH looks forward to taking part in under the banner Project Saade, in memory of my brother Saade who we lost this year,” said AmelStorseth, co-founder of PFMH. “As children, we were on the receiving end of initiatives like PIE Education, so I know my brother would be very proud that his memory is touching the lives of those less fortunate.”

"We believe that every child deserves access to a quality education and a fair chance to succeed," said Alex Nuttall, co-founder of Providing Instruments for PIE Education, a charitable initiative committed to empowering youth in education.  "Through our backpack program, we aim to remove barriers that hinder children's educational journey from disadvantaged backgrounds and provide them with the resources they need to achieve their full potential for the upcoming school year."

The initiative marks the 13th annual PIE Education backpack program, in which co-founders, Alex Nuttall and Craig Russell of PIE Wood Fire Pizza Joint have been co-organizers since 2010. PIE Education is a community-focused program designed for kids growing up in government-subsidized housing, providing students with the necessary materials for educational success for the upcoming school year.  

During the program's history, the organization has provided over 20,000 backpacks to children in need.

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