Reflections from Kayla, a Backpack Buddies Mom
“I was born in Vancouver -- it’s where I’ve lived and worked my entire life,” Kayla explains. “It’s where my community is, where my family has roots, and a neighbourhood I’ve called home for over 40 years.”
Kayla lives with her husband and her three children in a two-bedroom apartment in the Commercial Drive neighbourhood. They pay almost $2,000 a month in rent for their tiny suite in a building that’s over a century old.
“The building is falling apart but we have no other option,” she explains. “If we leave here, where else could we go? Where is actually cheaper in Metro Vancouver? This community is our home -- this is where our life, our work, and our kids are.”
It’s not an uncommon story to hear around Vancouver these days -- families stretched to the maximum trying to make ends meet. And, for many like Kayla and her husband, it’s not for lack of effort.
“I work at SuperValu and my husband builds homes,” she says. “Even with us both working hard, our family is living right on the poverty line -- it’s been a difficult time for us.”
When Kayla heard about Backpack Buddies at her daughter’s school, she signed up right away.
“My family needs the extra help,” she says. “Groceries are expensive in the city and we often forgo things like fruit because a bag of apples is too much. But, through Backpack Buddies, my kids get fruit and the snacks we need to make it through each week -- it all goes a long way towards helping us get by.”
“My pantry used to be empty all the time and today, if one of my kids is hungry, they can open the door and pick something to eat,” she explains. “Because of Backpack Buddies, we’re more secure -- we don’t wonder if we’re going to be able to eat or not.”