Joanne Griffiths, President & Co-Founder

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What do you love most about Vancouver?
I love Vancouver because of the diversity and richness of culture that its inhabitants bring to it. 

What inspired you to start Backpack Buddies? 
After meeting with an outreach worker at one of the inner city schools of Vancouver and learning of the dire need for food over weekends for some of the children,  we launched Backpack Buddies to help fill that gap. 

What inspires you? 
What inspires me the most about working with Backpack Buddies is the generosity of the people who give so freely of their time and energy to help us feed the kids in our program.

Emily-Anne King, Vice-President & Co-Founder

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What do you love about Vancouver?
I love the people, the diversity, and the scenery. It truly is the most beautiful place on earth!

What inspired you to start  Backpack Buddies?
I was inspired  by conversations my mom (Jo Slow as she is fondly known in the community) and I had with teachers at inner city schools. They expressed to us the need for weekend food for the children attending their schools. Once the issue of weekend hunger came to our attention, we knew we had to do something! 

What inspires you?
I am inspired daily by the community we work with, our schools, teachers, donors, but most of all  by the children we support. 

Samantha Tennant, Board Member

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What do you love about Vancouver?
I love the West Coast lifestyle; how you can ski, swim, golf or hike all on the same weekend! 

Why have you joined the Backpack Buddies Board? 
To be a part of an inspiring and talented group of people in pursuit of making a positive impact on the lives of children in our community 

What inspires you?
My family, my community, and my country inspire me.

Denise Salmon, Board Member

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What do you love most about Vancouver?
I love the outdoors, close proximity to the beaches and the mountains and the fact that I can spend time outdoors every day of the year with my dog Rocky!

Why have you joined the Backpack Buddies Board? 
I’ve supported child hunger causes that fill the need during school hours but never on the weekends or holidays. I had the opportunity to present BackPack Buddies to my office, REMAX Masters Realty in West Vancouver, we now have 9 offices throughout the Lower Mainland and all our offices fundraise for Backpack Buddies. I’m happy I can help make sure kids eat at all times now!

What inspires you? 
The simplicity and, in contrast, the complexity of nature which in turn makes me look at how we as humans react and interact with it. Being part of this movement and 'reconnection' with the basic need fills me with joy.

Geoff Pedlow, Chair of the Board

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Geoff is a business lawyer at a major international law firm, practicing corporate and securities law with a focus on the technology sector. Geoff has a passion for entrepreneurship and big ideas, providing strategic advice to startups and entrepreneurs on a broad range of legal matters throughout their business life cycle, from commercial arrangements to capital raising and exit strategies.

Geoff also works closely with purpose-driven social enterprises to help their ideas make a real impact and empower them to create positive change.

Geoff is excited to be a part of the Community First Foundation and Backpack Buddies, an organization focused on giving back to our community and making meaningful progress towards solving child hunger in our city.

Alison Wilson, Board Member

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What do you love about Vancouver?
It would be much easier to list what I don’t like – the rain - and I don’t even mind it that much! I moved to Vancouver from Winnipeg almost 15 years ago, and to this day, the view of the mountains gives me butterflies. Beyond the unmatched natural beauty of the ‘Best Coast’, Vancouverites are some of the most creative, innovative and community-minded people in all of Canada. 

Why have you joined the Backpack Buddies Board?
As a mom of two young children, I’m inspired by Joanne and Emily-Anne’s mission to not only address childhood hunger, but to do so in tandem with teaching empathy and the importance of giving back to young people in our communities. I want to help move the needle forward on all that they have accomplished to date, reaching even more children and families in need across the Lower Mainland.  
  

What inspires you?
I’m inspired by the memory of my amazing dad who volunteered in so many different capacities for various charitable organizations over the course of his lifetime. Whether he was packing and delivering Christmas hampers to families in need or serving as a board member, he believed that if someone doesn't have enough, you give, without expecting anything in return.  

Ryan Yada , Board Member

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What do you love most about Vancouver?
My family, friends and people I know here.  The abundance - of nature, diversity, opportunities, and choices. The healthy and healing community we have.  

Why have you joined the Backpack Buddies Board? 
To give what I can to such a great cause and to help create even more impact with those in need here in the Lower Mainland and across Canada.

What inspires you? 
Someone living into their full potential and doing something well outside their comfort zone.  Acts of kindness and giving without any expectation of getting anything in return.  My kids.