FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER
Dear Backpack Buddies Community,
We are excited to share our 2022/23 Community Impact Report with you, and show you the difference you have made helping to feed hungry kids across BC this past year.
It has been a challenging year in our communities, for our province and country. It seems almost daily that food prices are increasing and the cost of living continues to climb. Each day we are seeing more kids struggling with hunger and food insecurity.
There is hope. Together, with your help, we are rising to meet the needs of children across BC.
Thanks to your generous support of Backpack Buddies you have put hope on the table for over 5,000 kids in 66 communities this past year.
When you gave, you helped provide hungry kids with a backpack full of food every Friday to last them the weekend and beyond. It’s more than food though…it’s stability for children, support for their parents, and hope for entire families as they navigate some of life’s greatest challenges.
For many of these kids, your donation means the difference between going hungry over the weekend, or having a full tummy. Hunger doesn’t take a weekend off but clearly neither do you – we see the immense impact you are making daily – thank you!
This Community Impact Report includes highlights and achievements from the past year, stories from kids and families you have helped, and so much more.
Together we can ensure no child in British Columbia is hungry.
Co-Executive Director and Co-Founder
Geoff Pedlow, Chair
Joanne Griffiths, President — Co-Founder
Samantha Tennant, Treasurer
Alison Wilson, Director
Sylvie Singer, Director
Ayeesha Lalji, Director
Curtis Clarke, PhD, Director
Adam Segal, Director
Joanne Griffiths, Co-Executive Director and Co-Founder
Emily-anne King, Interim Executive Director and Co-Founder
Lorraine Winchester, Director, Food Access
Laara Losier, Program Coordinator – South Vancouver Island
Diane de Jong, Program Coordinator – Port Hardy and North Vancouver Island
Rachelle MacDougall, Program Coordinator – Central Kootenays
Pat Jenkins, Warehouse and Transportation Manager
Kristoffer Fransson, Warehouse Supervisor
Jamie McCracken – Warehouse Associate
Jeremy Hunka, Media and Communications Specialist
Families across BC are in crisis. The ever-increasing cost of rent, household expenses and childcare has created an affordability emergency, and it has hit children the hardest. One in five families are at risk of food insecurity. For parents depending on school meal programs to help feed their children, every weekend brings renewed stress and anxiety.
Hunger doesn’t take
the weekend off
Children in food-insecure households often do not eat properly, or at all, on weekends. Consistent hunger, even just over the weekend, can set a child back for life. Children from food insecure households…
- Are two to four times more likely to have poorer health or a diagnosed chronic condition as they face long-term health challenges.
- Exhibit higher rates of behavioural problems and psychosocial deficits, and higher levels of anxiety and depression.
- Experience developmental impairments in areas of language and motor skills and are more likely to repeat a grade.
- Are more likely to be overweight due to poor diet and overeating due to the unpredictability of food.
In the News
Backpack Buddies passionately pushes for change by raising awareness of child hunger and rallying the public to join our cause.
Here are some of our most notable news stories from the past year.
With the cost of living rising relentlessly, we have needed your help more than ever to get bags of food into the hands of hungry kids in your community and across BC. We asked for your help, and you responded with inspiring generosity—thank you!
Together, we’ve been able to reach more kids than we ever have before — topping out at 5,360 every week in the 2022/23 school year.
You’ve helped us grow
Recently, we caught up with Donna—she’s the Neighbourhood Assistant at Grandview Elementary in East Vancouver. We’ve known Donna for over a decade and in all the years we have partnered together, this past one has been unique. Here’s a snippet of what she shared about the changing needs she sees in her community…
Just this past spring, we increased our weekly delivery from Backpack Buddies from 30 bags to 40 bags of food. There are just so many more people needing help: we are supporting refugees, new Canadians, persistent low-income families, and those that have just recently fallen into that low-income bracket.
Recently, I was handing out the bags of food from Backpack Buddies and a dad came up to the window. He’s from a family that, pre-pandemic, I would’ve considered financially very stable. On this particular day, he was coming to pick up a bag of food for his child. I asked him if everything was okay with him, and he shared with me that the economic climate has rocked them and they’re in a place where they need the extra support that Backpack Buddies provides. It took me by surprise and really brought into focus the challenges that families are facing today.
The world is in a strange place right now. Your support of Backpack Buddies makes it a safer, friendlier place as those who are struggling look for support and a helping hand.
You’re truly making a difference in the lives of the children and families we serve
by putting hope back on the table.
“There have been seasons where I won’t eat so that my kids can.”
Kristy is a single mom with a fixed income living in Langford on Vancouver Island.
“When I don’t have enough food to feed my kids, it’s very hard. The kids can tell when I’m stressed about money and food—I try not to show it but they pick up on it from me and they worry.”
Kristy’s kids aren’t alone. The reality is, there are anxious kids in every corner of our province wondering where their next meal is coming from.
With your help, we are doing something about this.
For the past three years, Kristy’s daughter, Kaliyah, has been coming home from school every Friday with a backpack full of food from Backpack Buddies. The bag is loaded with meals and snacks to last Kaliyah the weekend and beyond.
“The bags of food from Backpack Buddies provide us with a sense of security and hope. Kaliyah knows that there’s going to be something for her to eat over the weekend—she doesn’t have to worry about that anymore.”
There are over 5,000 hungry children across BC just like Kaliyah who depend on the generosity of people like you. Your continued support over the past year has ensured they receive a bag of food from Backpack Buddies every Friday and hope for the weekend ahead.
“When we get Backpack Buddies, it feels like someone is looking out for me and my family—I can’t thank you enough.”Read More Stories
Other Income: $1,931
Allen and Loreen Vandekerkhove Family Foundation
Ames Family Foundation
AMUR FINANCIAL GROUP INC.
Avison Young Canada Inc.
Blue Shore Financial
Board of Education School District No. 38 (Richmond)
Bread & Butter IO Inc.
Breakfast Club of Canada
Century Group Lands Corporation
CFAX Santas Anonymous Society
City of North Vancouver
City of Victoria
CKNW Kids’ Fund
Clifford and Carolyn Davis
Cummins Canada ULC
David Ash Family Foundation
Dinyar Marzban Law Corporation
East to West Leasing LTD
Engel & Volkers
Face The World Foundation
First West Foundation
Galloway Botteselle & Co
IKEA Canada Ltd Partnership
Intact Insurance Company
Koru Pacific Foundation
Labourers’ Advancement Fund
Matthew Nathanson Law Corporation
Michael David Corday
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Mount Seymour Resorts
Nicola Wealth Private Giving Foundation
PCI King George Developments Inc.
Phyliss and Irving Snider Foundation
Progressive Sealing Inc
Province of British Columbia
QuadReal Property Group
Quiet Cove Foundation
RE/MAX Crest Realty
Regency Auto Investments
Robert Allan Ltd.
Royal Oak Optometry
Safe Pacific Financial Inc
Saints Peter and Paul Parish
Sharons Credit Union
Stikeman Elliott LLP
Sunshine Coast Credit Union
Telus Friendly Future Foundation
The Annual Foundation
The Connor, Clark & Lunn Foundation
The Francis Family Fund
The Grocery Foundation
The Morris and Helen Belkin Foundation
The Palmer Family Foundation
The ScotiaMcleod Charitable Foundation
The Singing Walrus Music Production
The Sunshine Coast Community Foundation
The Victoria Foundation
The Wheelbarrow Fund
The Wolrige Foundation
Times Colonist Christmas Fund
TL Housing Solutions Ltd.
Townline Homes Inc.
United Way of the Lower Mainland
Urban One Management Inc.
Valerie Eluzabeth Reiter
Van Kam Freightways
Vancouver Fraser Port Authority
Ventana Construction Corp.
Victor and Anna Kern Foundation
Wheaton Precious Metals Corp
Whole Foods Market Services, Inc.
Rick’s Heart Foundation
Committed to Community and Philanthropy
At Backpack Buddies we never do this work alone. We do so with the unwavering support of our donors, volunteers, and community partners—partners like East to West Group of Companies who have been relentless supporters of the Backpack Buddies mission.
East to West Group of Companies has been in business since 2015 in both commercial equipment finance, and mortgage financing. Community and giving back are values that East to West and its employees believe in deeply. Philanthropy is embedded in their culture and involves every team member.
At the start of 2022 East to West Group of Companies decided they wanted to increase their annual giving but were unsure where to invest their time and money. The employees were split into three groups and tasked with the goal of choosing a new charity to sponsor. One of the groups, led by Colin Graham – Senior Credit Underwriter, determined through research that child hunger was prevalent across British Columbia. Further digging unveiled Backpack Buddies and their mission to attack the hunger that impacts our children across the province. This mission spoke to the team and once presented to the entire company the feeling was mutual for all team members. East to West now sponsors Backpack buddies along with another charity of choice, BC Children’s Hospital which they have supported with annual donations since their inception in 2015.
“We were looking for somewhere that we could have an impact, not just by giving money, but by giving something that’s more valuable, which is our time,” explains Colin. “Childhood hunger touches so many people; every school, every community, and even if folks are not aware of it —it’s there.”
The team at East to West Group of Companies has supported Backpack Buddies in many ways including donations, volunteering, and being a golf tournament sponsor. Volunteering to pack food bags with team members as well as family and friends at the warehouse has been a powerful experience. Colin explained that volunteering with Backpack Buddies has positively impacted the employees and their family members.
“Our children can go to a cupboard and say that they are hungry and grab whatever they want out of the cupboard. Not all kids have that. So, for them to go and put food bags together and have it explained to them where that food is going and why is quite impactful. There’s something so tangible when you’re onsite and seeing it all happen and being part of it, especially for kids.”
“Coming together to pack over 3,150 food bags at the Backpack Buddies warehouse was a big accomplishment. We felt a lot of gratitude to be able to help people in need.”
Backpack Buddies is so thankful to have such a kind-hearted and dedicated partner in East to West!