With the upcoming school year just around the corner, shelling out extra cash for new pencils, pens and paper is not always financially possible for some Edmonton families.

With about one in five Edmonton children living in poverty, KidsFest Canada, partnered with Grand & Toy, stuffed more than 800 backpacks with school supplies yesterday to help those children start the year on an even playing field.

“I don’t believe that there are any poor minds, just poor opportunities,” said Brian Warren, ex-Edmonton Eskimos player and founder of KidsFest Canada.

Warren founded KidsFest over nine years ago upon finishing his professional career in the CFL, when decided he wanted to give back to the community.

“I believe that education is a hammer that can break the chain of child poverty,” Warren said.

Each backpack is filled with supplies such as paper, scissors and notebooks to last each student three to six months.

“We kind of look at this as Christmas in September,” Warren said.