Who Participates?

Anyone can participate and every little bit helps. To date we’ve had participation from students, small and large corporations, clubs and individuals.

Would you or your school like to join in? Just download the Project Backpack Startup Kit or  contact us!

How The Program Works

Homelessness is a huge issue in Vancouver and an indignity to all who must endure it. We can’t eliminate it completely, but by curbing our apathy and embracing empathy towards others we can help Vancouver’s homeless youth cope with survival on the streets, and try to help get them back on track to a better life before they become street entrenched forever.

High schools decide to make a difference in their own city by joining the campaign. It all begins with the team at Project BackPack who donates the backpacks to the schools; local street youth design posters promoting the campaign; social workers from street youth facilities speak at the participating high school assemblies; senior student representatives help co-ordinate the process within the school (together with a Project BackPack volunteer) collecting essential living items (toiletries, snacks, underwear, toques/mitts, food coupons, etc.,) which are then stuffed into the backpacks and donated to the youth shelters for distribution to the needy.

Some schools fill 20 backpacks; others fill 100. Any number is a profound gift.

Download our Project Backpack Startup Kit

Here are some of the creative ways students and businesses have become involved to support Project Backpack and H.E.L.P.

  • H.E.L.P. & Project BackPack partnered with the Salvation Army Boundless Back to School fair for grades 1 – 12 on August 22 by donating 150 backpacks and participating in the community event.
  • For the second year, the talented women of Parc Retirement Living knitted armfuls of handmade scarves, mittens & hats and donated them to Project Backpack.  Many thanks to you all!
  • A GREAT BIG THANK YOU to the Canada Post Community Foundation for believing in our mission. The $13,000.00 grant for 2018 -2019 will allow us to continue to educate the community about Vancouver’s homeless youth issue while we continue to provide essential items to homeless youth to help them survive on the street.  Click on the photo below to see the generous team of retailers at Canada Post
  • The gracious employees of Dermalogica Canada supported Project Backpack in their recent giving program.
  • Mulgrave School in West Vancouver chose Project Backpack in conjunction with Free the Children’s Vow of Silence on Apr 18.  Here is a link to their very unique campaign:
  • Southpointe Academy students in Tsawwassen participated in the Knapsacks for Street Youth Program to help homeless youth in Vancouver.
  • The tremendous efforts of  the students at Southridge School are greatly appreciated – they not only helped out by filling 50 backpacks but also donated the proceeds of their theatre production of  ‘Our Country’s Good’ to Project Backpack!  We are humbled by your efforts and generosity.  Thank you – we look forward to working with you again!  Click here to read more.
  • The students involved in the West Point Grey Academy Service Council participated again this year and generously filled 30 backpacks!  Click here to learn more about their impressive efforts!
  • The generous young women of York House School participated for the 7th year, filling backpacks for the at-risk homeless youth of Vancouver.   Our heartfelt thanks for your continued support – you have made a BIG difference! Click here to read more.
  •  Our first corporate sponsor West Coast Beauty Supply generously donated personal grooming products to Project Backpack.  We are truly grateful for their participation and generosity.
  •   In Coquitlam a very generous young birthday girl, Alex, asked for donations in lieu of gifts.  She raised $200 for H.E.L.P. for Youth Canada Society and donated a box of supplies to Project Backpack!  Thank you Alex!





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