Back-to-school and in the News

It’s been a whirlwind back-to-school season here at Backpack Buddies. As we embark on our 7th year, we are set to reach more children than ever before. Our story recently caught the attention of Global News and The Globe and Mail:

Fighting Child Hunger - Global News

Co-Founder Emily-anne joined Sonia Sunger in studio to talk about how Backpack Buddies is expanding our services this fall. We're now in over 50 schools across Metro Vancouver, feeding more hungry children than ever before. It’s an incredible feat, one that is both extremely encouraging and deeply heartbreaking, because it speaks to the real need that continues to exist for children in our community.

Our children can’t be hungry to learn if they’re also hungry for food - The Globe and Mail

“As children returned to classes across the country this month, many arrived with a hearty appetite for learning and discovery. But behind the scenes, a gnawing fear was already biting at the heels of others struggling to outrun a problem they wouldn’t dare mention: On weekends, they go hungry.”

By the numbers: A year of unprecedented growth

From Geoff Pedlow, Chair of the Board.

Hi There - 

I’m a numbers guy. They’re important to me not only because of my professional career (I’m a business lawyer specializing in corporate and technology law) but also because they tell a story that is worth sharing.

BPB Growth .jpg

The story I want to tell you is about the children who relied on you this past year.

If you like, you can skip the rest of this post and simply take a look at the numbers to your left.

If you’re sticking around (hard not to, now that I’ve invited you to stop reading), I want you to know that our numbers have amazing things to say.

This year, because of partners, volunteers and donors like you…

  • More bags of food were delivered to children and families in need than ever before.

  • Our donor schools grew by 25%

  • Our recipient schools grew by nearly 200%

  • We covered more ground delivering bags of food, approximately 6,500 more kilometres than last year.

Almost 1,000 children across Metro Vancouver were reached every weekend… all because people like you care.

Behind every bag counted, every kilogram of food delivered, is a child in need who won’t go hungry over the weekend.

Today, we are ready for more. More bags of food to give, more kilometres to drive, more children to reach...

Together, we can tell an even more incredible ‘by the numbers’ story for the 2019/20 school year. Backpack Buddies is poised to meet the significant need that still exists - but we can’t do it without you.

With Gratitude,

Geoff

Geoff Pedlow, Chair of the Board


We’ve outlined all of this and more in our 2018/19 Impact Report.

You - caring reader - can be a part of this story. Join us as a donor, volunteer or sponsor this coming school year. Click here to learn how you can be involved.

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. 

All of the students at Meadowbrook Elementary -- where her daughters attend -- take turns 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. 

Andrea (top row, second to the left) with students from Meadowbrook Elementary.

Andrea (top row, second to the left) with students from Meadowbrook Elementary.

“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.”

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 backpacks 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.”

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? Learn how you can help.