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District 69 Backpack Program asks for donations to help feed PQB families

Rising cost of food has more families than ever accessing program
Virginia Worcester, founder and co-ordinator of the School District 69 Backpack program. (Submitted photo)

The rising cost of food means more families than ever will experience food insecurity in District 69.

Volunteers with the District 69 Backpack Program have noticed more people accessing their program, with the number of families increasing from 55 to 75 during the past year, according to the program’s founder and co-ordinator, Virginia Worcester.

“A lot more families are going to need the assistance because they’ll be suffering from food insecurity just because of the price of food going up so much,” she said, and added the program will need approximately $140,000 to operate this year.

The program, now in its ninth year, sends enough food to feed the whole family, big or small and lets children return to school on Monday nourished and ready to learn.

Every Thursday, backpacks full of healthy food staples are either sent home with a students across the district or delivered to the family residence.

Families receive healthy food such as bread, cereal, milk, peanut butter, jam, pasta, pasta sauce, tuna and soups, which allows them to assemble nutritious meals over the weekend and over the school week if necessary.

Donations can be made with cash, a cheque made out to District 69 and through direct deposit to More information on how to donate is available online at

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District 69 Backpack Program is a registered charity and everyone who donates will receive a tax receipt.

Worcester said people sometimes misunderstand and think the program works by having food donated to it, but this would not be practical given the volume of food items needed to feed 75 families.

It is run completely by volunteers, so 100 per cent of donations go to purchasing food, according to Worcester.

“Every single dollar you donate goes to the program to support the families, buying them food and running our All They Want for Christmas Program,” she said.

The program serves families at all School District 69 (Qualicum) schools, from Nanoose Bay to Bowser.

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Kevin Forsyth

About the Author: Kevin Forsyth

As a lifelong learner, I enjoy experiencing new cultures and traveled around the world before making Vancouver Island my home.
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