Opinion Column

Partnering with PIE: NUTTALL

Alex Nuttall

Alex Nuttall

This week, the team at PIE Education proudly wraps up its fifth year of delivering backpacks filled with school supplies to youth in our community.


Providing Instruments for Excellence (PIE) in Education is a community-oriented program aimed at supporting kids in government-subsidized housing, by supplying them with the necessary materials for educational success, such as backpacks, pencil cases, paper, notebooks, rulers, crayons, and pens.

Craig Russell, from PIE Wood Fired Pizza, and I came up with the idea for PIE Education in 2012, as we wanted a way to help children gain the confidence and tools needed to succeed in school. Personally, I grew up in government housing, and received assistance from many people and organizations in my community at a young age.

I see this program as an opportunity to give back to those people and programs that helped me as a child.

Craig was also eager to give back to our community and create practical solutions to fight poverty.

Every year for the past five years, we have been overwhelmed by the number of requests received from Barrie and surrounding areas.

Through our fundraising activities, such as the PIE golf tournament every July, we are able to raise more than $18,000 annually from our generous sponsors and donors to purchase the supplies and backpacks.

We then provide the backpacks to various community organizations who distribute them to the local children and youth they support.

Some of our community partner organizations include the Barrie Municipal Non-Profit Housing Corporation, Simcoe County Housing Corporation, Simcoe Community Services, Simcoe Muskoka Family Connexions, Canadian Mental Health Association, Barrie Native Friendship Centre, Women and Children’s Shelter of Barrie, Algonquin Woodlands Aboriginal Peoples Tribal Council, the Wahta Mohawk Community and local church groups. This year, we were excited to see new and returning community organizations participating in the program, and it is incredible that we have been able to expand PIE Education by another 500 recipients throughout Simcoe County, in recognition of our fifth anniversary.

On behalf of PIE Education, I would like to thank all of our donors, sponsors, volunteers and community partners. It is because of your generous support that this program is a success.

For anyone who is interested in more information on helping out or becoming a community partner organization for distribution next year, please contact our PIE Education team at pieeducation@outlook.com.

Alex Nuttall is the MP for Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte. 

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