You want to learn more about our flagship program, Backpack Buddies? You’ve come to the right place!
Backpack Buddies is a unique program that addresses a very real need in the communities in and around Vancouver while providing a tangible opportunity for kids to help other kids.
We know it isn’t exactly comfortable to think about, but many students in our inner city schools rely heavily on free or reduced price breakfast and lunch programs during the school week. Sadly, something most of us forget is that “hunger doesn’t take the weekend off” and these same kids go home to meager or no meals on the weekend. It is proven that without adequate nutrition, kids have difficulty learning and are at risk of developing serious health conditions. Once they are aware of the issue, we believe no one in and around Vancouver would want this to be a reality for kids in our city. And this is what led to the formation of our flagship program, Backpack Buddies, a creative solution to the problem.
The concept is simple. Kids that are fortunate enough to be living and attending school without worrying about where their next meal is coming from are invited to join the program. They have fundraisers, hold food drives and pack backpacks full of enough food to feed kids throughout the weekend. Next, Community First volunteers pick up the backpacks and deliver them to the schools that need them. See it’s simple but requires a great deal of work.
Don’t be fooled, we don’t do this all on our own; we have the support of a growing list of community partners that want to be part of the solution. Backpack Buddies is generously sponsored by Save On Foods and Urban Fare, both making food contributions and RE/MAX providing the wheels to deliver the backpacks.
Backpack Buddies is founded on the belief that in order for kids to feel compassion and empathy, they need to understand and learn about the issues faced by others and then to be provided with tangible opportunities to actually help and be part of the solution.
It is usually appropriate to assess a need by the demand for what you are doing. Backpack Buddies started with 1 donor school (20 backpacks) and 1 recipient school. Just 4 years later, we have 11 donor schools and 1 corporate backpack donor (over 500 backpacks) and 9 recipient schools welcoming our help for their hungry kids. As a result, twice a month, we are providing over 500 kids in inner city schools with enough food to last an entire weekend.