The District 69 Backpack Program is always in need of donations. The Parksville Rotary Club AM has committed to assisting the program through its weekend bottle drive held at Speedy Glass in Parksville. (PQB News)

The District 69 Backpack Program is always in need of donations. The Parksville Rotary Club AM has committed to assisting the program through its weekend bottle drive held at Speedy Glass in Parksville. (PQB News)

District 69 backpack program holds annual fundraiser to help feed families from Nanoose Bay to Bowser

‘Case for a Cause’ to feature B.C. winemakers

The District 69 backpack program is making a Case for a Cause.

The co-ordinator and founder of the program, Virginia Worcester, said it’s their annual fundraiser that features B.C. winemakers Tinhorn Creek, Gray Monk and Red Rooster Winery. You can purchase a case or a six-pack of wine with all the proceeds going towards helping feed families from Nanoose to Bowser through the backpack program.

“We’re featuring B.C. wines because during the pandemic, they’re suffering terribly so this is an opportunity for us to support them while also helping our local community,” said Worcester.

There will be varieties of wines that you can choose from. They include chardonnay, pinot gris, rose, and merlot.

“People can make custom cases so that they can get a six-pack or a case,” said Worcester. “The prices range from a $114 to $323 depending on the wine that they’re choosing,”

Worcester said they’re taking pre-orders right now. They will be delivered a week before the Victoria Day long weekend on May 20. A drive-through pickup will be set up at 105-222 W Second Avenue, Qualicum Beach.

“People can just drive up and they can just open their trunk and we’ll load the wine into the trunk,” said Worcester. “So it’s all COVID friendly, no contacts and it’s quick and easy.”

To those wishing to make an order, you can call 250-240-0772. You have until May 14 to order so. Payment can be made via cheque or e-transfer.

The backpack program, a non-profit group operated by volunteers, relies on donations and is constantly finding ways to generate funds to feed 55 families. It costs approximately $575 to feed one family.

“The money goes out as fast as it comes in,” said Worcester.

READ MORE: Parksville Rotary AM donates $6.9K to District 69 backpack program

This year, due to COVID-19, Worcester said they’ve altered the way they do things.

“We’ve expanded it,” said Worcester. “We’re no longer using backpacks because of COVID. We can’t reuse them going back and forth. And for the package, they’re getting food for the entire week instead of just for the whole weekend.”

Worcester said the foods distributed are not just snacks. They include cereals, milk, bread, peanut butter, jam, potatoes, pasta, sauces and rice.

“The foods in the pack can actually make healthy nutritious full meals,” said Worcester, who added that during spring break, they made sure families have enough food for two weeks.

The families that receive the pack of foods are mostly recommended by the different schools in District 69. Teachers, counsellors and principals have a first-hand view when children don’t have food. They can see when children are not bringing food.

The recipients remain anonymous.

“We don’t ever know who the families are,” said Worcester. “There are no names, ever, given out and they’re very careful. We keep the identities of the family quiet.”

Worcester said they’re doing their best to make sure they are helping all the familes that require assistance. She added that some of them do drop out of the program as they no longer require help.

“It is revolving all the time” said Worcester. “It’s not once you’re in the program, you’re in the program forever.”

Anyone wishing to donate to the program can do so by dropping cheques in person at Borealis at 105-222 W Second Ave. You can also donate via e-transfer to bhb2@shawcable.com.

Please include your full mailing address in the details for your tax receipt. For information, contact Worcester 250-240-0772 or visit www.district69backpackprogram.com.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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