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Backpack Buddies ensures over 400 vulnerable Surrey children receive meal items for the weekend

We are excited to announce that we have granted $42,800.00 to Backpack Buddies to extend their weekly meal delivery program which serves over 400 vulnerable children in Surrey. Their community outreach and their work to ensure food security is crucial throughout the COVID-19 crisis as vulnerable children rely on school meal programs. As a result, they are scaling up to help more kids have weekend meal items and snacks for the weekdays.

Joanne Griffiths of Backpack Buddies and Christine Buttkus from SurreyCares share a COVID friendly high five!

Backpack Buddies is a grassroots organization engrained with morals of family, community and empathy hence their hard work ensuring that children are fed is boundless. After all, Backpack Buddies delivers the most vulnerable children in British Columbia with food through their school meal program. They work alongside multiple school districts to ensure that food is distributed to countless children in need, catering food to each child’s dietary restrictions and ensuring food is gluten-free or vegan when need be. Many children rely on free or reduced-price food programs during the school week but go hungry on weekends hence Backpack Buddies fills this need and fills bags with food for children to take home for the weekend. With rampant food insecurity, they provide nine meals items, fruits and other snacks in a bag which includes enough food to last children the entire weekend and beyond. With the increased demand for food during the COVID-19 crisis and with Christmas quickly approaching, Backpack Buddies is moving locations to a larger warehouse where there is more room for social distance to continue to provide food for children.

Joanne Griffiths, the President and Co-Founder of Backpack Buddies shared that “with job losses and a depressed economy, the demand for food to feed children is skyrocketing. We receive more calls every day from schools, community organizations, and families looking for food.” She reassured, however, that by working with 18 Surrey schools, they “now serve 56% more BC children than [they] did as of March 2020.” Through this granting, their school meals program benefits vulnerable children in Surrey by ensuring their food security.

The grant is made possible through the Government of Canada's new $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund, which saw over $900,000 allocated to SurreyCares.

Christine Buttkus, Executive Director of SurreyCares, explained that "Backpack Buddies provides urgent support for vulnerable children facing increased food insecurity due to COVID-19. The need for food is not particular to COVID-19 but rather, the need has been intensified. We strive to support Surrey’s children as best we can during this unprecedented time.”

The Emergency Community Support Fund is being delivered through a national partnership with Community Foundations of Canada, United Way Centraide Canada and the Canadian Red Cross.

Backpack Buddies is currently only able to accept financial donations. Find out more about Backpack Buddies’ projects and how to donate at



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