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Project Backpack

Now in its 15th year, Project BackPack is a community-service campaign whose mission is to help the hundreds of homeless youth in Vancouver. It offers a way for students and businesses to help those less fortunate by stuffing donated backpacks with essential living items which are then given to homeless youth centres for distribution.

The campaign itself not only provides the street youth with much needed personal hygiene items, but it also gives them a sense that someone, their community, cares. The participants involved in the donations gain an insight into the many challenges that these vulnerable youth face. It also give the leaders of tomorrow an entry point into community service.

If you are considering joining our community-based endeavour, this downloadable document  Project Backpack Startup kit  provides all the details on how to start and run your own campaign.


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Information about project backpack

  • “…it gave us a chance to help people in our own city, support kids our age. It’s cool that someone out there is carrying one of our packs and that it might make their day a little bit better.”

     Gr 12 student, Southpointe Academy

  • “…wow, someone did this for us!!”  Homeless Vancouver street youth

  • “…the older students love the backpack campaign, since they can relate to the cause, the streetyouth and their challenges.”

    West Point Grey Academy, Teacher,

  • “…I have been involved in charities before but this one really taught me a lot: the emotional reward, the value in others, and I’m also helping myself become a better person.”

    Gr 12 student, Earl Marriott Secondary

  • “…if living on the street is the answer for these kids, what horrific situation have they left?”

    Directions Youth Centre, Social Worker

  • “…it’s really very easy. The donated backpacks keep the costs low for the schools and the final pick up is helpful.”

    West Point Grey Academy, Administration

  • “…thank you, your yearly dedication has raised awareness, not only within your school but also within your community.”

    Directions, Administration

  • “…it was inspiring to see our students get involved in helping those less fortunate.”

    St. John’s Academy teacher

  • “…York House is proud to make the backpack campaign a tradition every year…to give to those most in need.”

    York House , Senior School teacher

  • “…the backpack campaign ensures that we are able to supply our homeless youth with essential living items that we’d otherwise not be able to afford.”  

    Directions Youth Centre, Social Worker

  • “….without this support we would face immense challenges, as counsel without resources is largely fruitless.
    Directions, Social Worker

  • “…helping the homeless street youth of Vancouver will definitely effect who I choose to work with later in life.”

    Earl Marriott student

  • “349 unaccompanied youth (under 25 yrs old) were counted in the 2011 Metro Vancouver Homeless count. This is a 29% increase from 2008.”

  • “Youth as young as 13 are living on the streets in Vancouver.”

  • “…it is much easier to believe in yourself when other people believe in you.”
    Vancouver Street Youth

  • “…wow, someone did this for us.”
    Vancouver Street Youth responding to the backpacks

  • “…to date Project Backpack has stuffed and donated over 2000 backpacks”

  • “…it gave us the chance to help people in our own city, support kids our own age. It’s cool to think that someone out there is carrying one of our packs and that it might make their day a little better.”
    Southpointe Academy, Gr 12 student.

  • “Our Scouts are much inspired as they participate in the community service launched by Project Backpack”
    Scouter Lillian, Kerrisdale

  • ‘The Scouts have gained lots of insight.  They were touched by the generosity and genuine care from so many people’
    Scouter Lillian, Kerrisdale 

  • ‘I believe this project has significant impact on youth’
    Scouter Lillian, Kerrisdale 

  • ‘Thank you again for embarking on a wonderful journey with the youth’
    Scouter Lillian, Kerrisdale

  • ‘…Project Backpack has given our kids the opportunity to organize a student-led project they believe in..’
    Daryl Weaver, Southridge

  • ‘..this project really resonates with the students because they are helping others their own age in our community in a real and tangible way.’
    Daryl Weaver, Southridge

  • “The students who have had the opportunity to deliver (the backpacks) certainly have their eyes opened about what other young people have to go through…”
    Daryl Weaver, Southridge 

  • “…such a project breaks down the divisions between ‘us’ and ‘them’ that may pre-exist in some of our students’ minds.”
    Daryl Weaver, Southridge 

  • “It has been a privilege to work with Project Backpack for the past three years.  We have been able to help the homeless youth in Vancouver and make a difference locally.”
    Iksha Kumar, Student 


  • “Packing backpacks is a small action that can make a huge difference in someone’s life…”
    Iksha Kumar, Student 


  • “Over the years that we have been involved with Project Backpack, it has allowed all of our students to make a tangible contribution to someone their own age, allowing them to deepen their understanding of the injustices in society…” (1/2)

  • “…For those students who run the Project and often get to deliver the backpacks, it allows them to develop their leadership and organizational skills and has in the past impacted them even more strongly as they have seen directly the challenges youth face on our downtown streets.” (2/2) Southridge Educator

  • “Many of our students have not had the experience of helping others in the community and this project gave them a chance to help others and feel good about themselves for doing so.”


  • “Being involved in Project Backpack opened my eyes to the struggles homeless youth face. I think providing something as small as a backpack filled with daily essentials could make a world of difference to someone who does not have the luxury of enjoying the things that most people use every day.” Student

  • “It made me really happy knowing I’d be helping by giving homeless youth a backpack full of supplies they need.”

    WR, High School Student

  • “I liked being a part of project backpack because even though I made a small difference its big enough to make a difference in someone’s life.”

    SC, High School Student

  • “Project backpack made me realize that youth homelessness is a very large and serious problem that needs to be more of a priority. I am very happy I got involved in this project that is for such a great cause.”

    GA, High School Student

  • “I realized that young people who become homeless are from all types of families. They can come from all different backgrounds. Unfortunately, often drugs, mental illness, family conflicts are reasons why they become homeless.”

    ML, High School Student