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Summer Programs

Summer Eats for Kids & Backpacks for Success

Families living in low-income struggle to make ends meet, and often cannot afford to provide some of the basics – including food and school supplies. This can become even more of a challenge for families over the summer months when school nutrition programs are closed.

Children and youth need access to healthy food in the summer months, and school supplies for the year ahead to be successful. Supporting children and families over the summer months with access to fresh and healthy food, and providing them with school supplies for September removes some of the many barriers that these families encounter on a daily basis.

Overview of Summer Programs

United Way’s Summer Programs include two innovative strategies that support children throughout the summer months, and help to prepare them for their upcoming school year.

The Summer Eats for Kids program provides children and families in Windsor-Essex County with a week’s worth of nutritious snacks, fresh fruits, and vegetables. The program is provided at six school locations across the community, where families can come to receive a food bag. In addition to this weekly support, the program provides 550 lunches per day during the first three weeks of July to students participating in the Greater Essex County District School Board’s ‘Camp Wonder’ program.

The Backpacks for Success program provides students in need in kindergarten through grade 12 throughout Windsor-Essex County with backpacks filled with grade-appropriate supplies they need for school. Providing kids with back-to-school supplies increases classroom participation, attendance, and student morale.

Goals of the Summer Programs

To provide 3,500 bags of food and 8,250 lunches to children and families in our community.

To provide 2,000 children in Windsor-Essex County with backpacks and school supplies for school.

Your Impact

This past summer, you helped us fill 3,600 food boxes for children. With your donation, you can improve a child’s nutrition, health, and educational success. Donations are welcome year-round.

Watch the 2021 Summer Eats for Kids Program in action.

2022 Summer Programs Report

Read about the community impact, our program sponsors and volunteers.

Be a Sponsor for the Day

$3,000 provides 120 families in Windsor and Essex County with a week’s worth of snacks, fresh fruits, and vegetables during the summer months. Summer Eats for Kids operates in six locations in West Windsor, Downtown Windsor, and Leamington.

How You Can Help

Make a Corporate Donation

Host a Workplace Fundraiser

Host a Digital Fundraiser

Make an Individual or Family One-Time Pledge

Donate Now


  • Provide food and backpacks to local children and youth in Windsor-Essex County
  • Opportunity to help distribute food or backpacks at a Day of Caring volunteer engagement during Summer Eats for Kids or Backpacks for Success
  • On-site signage during Day of Caring
  • Digital promotion/recognition of your contribution – includes photo op

Contact Us

519-259-6164 I

Donate new or gently used books

Contact Susan Merryfield to arrange to drop off books to the United Way office. They will be distributed to children ages 1-17 at Summer Eats for Kids program sites.


June 20, 2022

United Way launches annual summer programs across Windsor-Essex County

RELEASE: United Way launches their annual summer programs fundraising campaign this month – Summer Eats for Kids & Backpacks for Success.