Welcome to our 2018/19 Annual Report.
We’re excited to tell you all about what you made possible.
Thanks to the generous support of people like you, 2018/19 was a banner year here at Backpack Buddies. Together, we raised more funding to deliver more bags of food to more students than ever before. It was the year of “more” because people like you were steadfast and generous in your commitment to support the most vulnerable children in our community. We couldn’t do this without you. Thank you!
With much gratitude,
Co-Founder + Executive Director
Your Impact at a Glance
977 students at 46 schools
Received bags of food every week to bridge the weekend hunger gap
400 students at 18 schools
Volunteered their time this year to pack bags of food every week
Driven in our two trusty delivery vans
39,958 kg of food
Was distributed to help bridge the weekend hunger gap
24,974 bags of food
Were delivered this year to vulnerable children in our community
650 passionate people
Took the time to volunteer with Backpack Buddies this year
Where We’re Heading: 2019/20
It’s been a big year here at Backpack Buddies with record amounts of food delivered and children served. But we aren’t slowing down - there’s more work to be done. Here’s a look at our goals for 2019/20:
Delivering More Food: We have always had a goal of delivering 5,000 bags of food every month and every year we have gotten closer to achieving that goal. Currently we’re hovering at 3,400 bags delivered monthly. 2019/20 will be all about scaling up operations to make our 5,000-bag-a-month goal a reality.
Increasing Weekly Deliveries: There are still some children at our partner schools that are only receiving bags of food on alternating weeks. In 2019/20, these children will be our primary focus as we will bump them up to weekly deliveries right away.
Growing into New Space: This year, we outgrew the storage containers that we have been using as homebase for our operations and are actively looking for warehouse space to call our new home!
We’re All About Kids-Helping-Kids
Central to what we do at Backpack Buddies is our kids-helping-kids model - in fact, it was the spark that ignited this entire program.
In 2012, we started with an idea: what if we could build connection, empathy and a stronger sense of community-commitment among young people by empowering them to address one of the most significant, yet invisible, challenges our neighbourhoods face? Could we tackle childhood hunger in a big way? Could we change the lives of students at both “donor schools” and “recipient schools”?
Today, we work with 400 students at 18 donor schools that help support 977 students at 46 recipient schools. Students at donor schools are responsible for raising awareness in their schools around childhood hunger. These students also invest hundreds of volunteer hours a year packing weekly bags of food that then get delivered to recipient schools.
To learn more about how to get your school involved with Backpack Buddies, click here.
Andrea’s Story: It’s All About the Kids
Before Andrea became involved with Backpack Buddies, her dream was simple enough: to find a charity she could volunteer at alongside her 9-year-old twin daughters. Whenever she would inquire about volunteering at local non-profits, she’d get the same answer: adults only.
“But at Backpack Buddies, it’s all about the kids,” she says. “It’s kids helping kids.”
Andrea was smitten by the organization’s unique ethos, and soon after learning about it, she helped bring Backpack Buddies to the Tri-Cities.
Unlike other Backpack Buddies sites, every student at Meadowbrook Elementary -- where her daughters attend -- takes a turn packing backpacks. Every other Thursday, a new group of students comes in to pack. Andrea gives a short talk about the program, and the students get to work.
“I’m trying to teach them what it takes to help, that it’s hard work, but also what it feels like when you are done,” she says. “When you teach the kids to do things now, they’re going to be better people and our whole community is going to be affected when it’s a norm for them to help out.”
- A startling reality -
Andrea, who moved to Canada in 2000, grew up in Slovakia. As a child, she very rarely saw families experiencing hunger. When she was introduced to Backpack Buddies, she was shocked to learn how many Canadian kids don’t have enough food to eat on the weekends.
“As a child, I cared about playing and I was worry-free because I was fed, I had a roof over my head. When I see kids here that are struggling, I feel that I have the means to help,” she says.
This reality motivates Andrea as she coordinates the program and delivers the packed backpacks to three Tri-Cities elementary schools on Fridays. Meadowbrook is also a recipient school, meaning some of the kids who pack also receive backpacks on the weekend.
“Even the children that take the packages get the chance to pack. Why would we take that opportunity away from them? They might need it but they still should experience the feeling of helping others.”
- “Why wouldn’t we do it?” -
One year in, Andrea hopes to continue volunteering with Backpack Buddies well into the future.
“It’s definitely made me a better person. I’m excited about doing it because we get to volunteer with the kids,” she says. “It’s refreshing to see that I am doing something to better the community. I always tell my kids, if we can make somebody’s weekend just a little bit better, then why wouldn’t we do it?”
Backpack Buddies relies on over 650 people like Andrea every year to volunteer their time to help reach children in need in our community. Curious about volunteering? Click here to learn how you can help.
Because of people like you, 2018/19 was an exceptional year of generosity for Backpack Buddies. With our surplus, our team is busy scaling up to reach more children and families in need across the Lower Mainland. We have hired two new staff, are increasing our delivery schedule, will be replacing one of our high top vans with a larger truck, and are investigating the possibility of moving into a warehouse space to accommodate our growth.
Government support: 6%
Ticket Sales + Sponsors: 4%
Thank you so much for your generous support! If you have any questions about our financials, please connect with our team at email@example.com.
FreeYumm: No Child Left Out at Snack Time
Read Sarah’s full story here and learn more about why she gives over 3,000 FreeYumm bars to Backpack Buddies every month.
Every year, companies from across Metro Vancouver step up and give either in-kind or financial gifts to help make Backpack Buddies possible. Does your company want to help vulnerable children in your community? Join us as a corporate champion! Learn more here.
It is people like you and your incredible commitment to this community that enables Backpack Buddies to reach hundreds of children every week. We are grateful to everyone who helped in their own unique way to bridge the weekend hunger gap for children in need in our community.