How We Help

We Help Hungry Kids

Every Friday, we deliver bags of food to hungry kids across BC. Each bag includes meals and snacks to last them the weekend and beyond.

We feed BC’s most vulnerable kids every weekend

BECAUSE HUNGER DOESN’T TAKE THE WEEKEND OFF

We serve our province’s most vulnerable children—those who go without consistent access to food on the weekend. Our priority is providing them food that is familiar and that they can easily prepare to ensure they get through the weekend without going hungry. We do this in close partnership with schools and a large network of distribution partners.

How It Works

Backpack Buddies is unique because we deliver food directly to children through their schools.

We partner with schools to connect with children in need

Everything we do is coordinated in partnership with teachers and administrators. They advise us on the needs of their students and discreetly identify children who will benefit most from receiving a bag of food for the weekend. 

We provide over 1 million meals a year

We work with grocery suppliers and food rescue organizations to stretch every dollar we have. Over 1.25 million meals a year are assembled at our locations across BC.

We deliver bags of food directly to schools every week

With the support of our generous transportation partners, we deliver thousands of bags of food every week to schools across BC.

We feed hungry kids with dignity and discretion

We take steps to ensure kids aren’t ashamed to get help. Every Friday, the kids we serve go home with a bag full of meals and snacks to last them the weekend and beyond. Coordinating with teachers and administrators, we ensure delivery is discreet so that no child feels singled out by this support. For the kids we serve, they head home every Friday knowing where their next meal is coming from and are equipped to return to school on Monday ready to learn.

What’s Included in the Bags

We choose food intentionally with guidance from educators and social workers. Our bags are kid-approved, easy to prepare, and varied – perfect for growing children.

Ready-to-Eat

All our food is ready-to-eat because many of the kids we serve are home alone. They will have to prepare this food by themselves, often with very limited access to a microwave, stove or oven.

Largely Non-Perishable

Most of our food is non-perishable because often kids in our recipient schools do not have refrigerators or appropriate food storage space at home. We recognize the importance of fresh fruit and veggies and include fresh items that last a while outside the fridge like apples, mini-peppers and mini-cucumbers. 

Kid-Approved

Every item in our bags is kid-approved because, like most children, the kids we work with are not particularly adventurous in their eating habits—they like and eat what they know.

We Partner with Schools

Our partnerships with schools across BC are critical to our collaborative approach. Backpack Buddies deliveries are coordinated through teachers, administrators, and social workers who advise on the needs of their students and identify the children who could benefit most from receiving a bag of food for the weekend.

    “The students we work with are so appreciative of the food Backpack Buddies provides. Many of their families struggle with issues like mental health and other lifestyle challenges that make getting to the Food Bank tricky. Ultimately, most of them have to ration food at home. But with Backpack Buddies, there are no barriers to getting the food—there is no shame.”

    Zaida Manji

    New Westminster Secondary School, Sigma Alternative Program

    “Many of our students with food security issues are from larger families where one income or social assistance just isn’t enough for the family to survive in Vancouver. With the cost of living rising disproportionately to increases in wages, there is a lot of poverty in our community and food insecurity arises…With Backpack Buddies, our students are happier and ready for school on Monday mornings. Our families are better as the stress of feeding their children over the weekend is supported by Backpack Buddies. It’s a win-win situation!”

    Donnah Mah

    Neighbourhood Assistant, Grandview Elementary School

    “Our food program is one of the most used resources in our school. We are noticing more students coming to school hungry or tired because they have not eaten. We are also noticing that there is often little food available to them outside of junk food, as many of our students come from families who are working poor or struggling with issues like substance abuse. Backpack Buddies means one less thing for our students to stress over—now they know they will have food over the weekend. And, even better, the food supplied are things the students can make on their own—they’re quite proud of that. Gilakas’la, Gilakas’la, Gilakas’la (thank you, thank you, thank you)—your support is much appreciated by our community.”

    Irene Isaac

    Vancouver Island North (School District 85): Aboriginal Programs

    “I just wanted to reach out and say thank you so much. Thank you for continuing to support our families. They are loving the extra “perks” in the bags of food, including the bread because it’s white and sliced!”

    Outreach Worker at Grandview Elementary School

    Vancouver

Need Backpack Buddies at your School?

If you have students at your school that need food for the weekend, let us know—we can help. Backpack Buddies runs at no cost to your school or your students. Click below to get connected.

Frequently Asked Questions

Explore a few of our frequently asked questions to learn more about Backpack Buddies and how we feed hungry kids across BC.

Many children who come from food-insecure homes rely heavily on school meal programs. However, over the weekend these children may not eat at all until school starts again on Monday. This is what we call the “weekend hunger gap.”

Backpack Buddies addresses this crisis by providing kids with bags of kid-approved meals and snacks every Friday to last them the weekend and beyond.

One bag of food includes meal items, fresh fruit, veggies and snacks. There is enough food to last the entire weekend and beyond. We work hard to ensure that most items in our bags are ready-to-eat, are largely non-perishable in case a child doesn’t have access to refrigeration, and are familiar to kids.

It costs $20 to fill a bag, though it is provided at no cost to the school and student. Each bag contains enough meal items plus fresh fruit, veggies and snacks to last a child the entire weekend and beyond.

The majority of the food we provide in our bags is purchased from our food partners Save-On Foods and Sysco. We use our strong buying power to purchase the food at cost or less. We supplement this by purchasing through food rescue companies such as FoodMesh. We also have wonderful supplier partnerships with companies like FreeYumm, who contribute in-kind donations to our program.

We pack our food in disposable, biodegradable plastic bags that children can easily put into their backpacks every Friday before they go home. These bags are unlabeled so we can provide support discretely to kids.

Make a Difference Today

Feed Hungry Kids

Join us as a donor. Pack bags as a volunteer. Get your company connected. Whatever you do, when you get involved with Backpack Buddies, you will be putting hope back on the table for hungry kids across BC.

Get Involved

There are lots of ways to get involved with Backpack Buddies. Join us and explore how you can make a difference in the lives of hungry kids in your own community and across BC.

Get Started

Donate to Backpack Buddies

Give today and provide hungry kids with meals and snacks for the weekend and beyond.

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