New backpack program starts up to help feed families in District 69

New backpack program starts up to help feed families in District 69

Fifty backpacks stocked with food sent home each week

Parksville Qualicum Beach has struggling families, whether people believe so or not, said Virginia Worcester, who is starting up a new program for local families in need.

She’s expanding Christmas charity efforts, which have been around in School District 69 since 1997, to be year-round. Starting this Christmas break, a backpack program will be implemented into schools from Bowser to Nanoose.

The program sends children home with a backpack stocked with food every Friday. Worcester said the district has already found 50 families to participate, and hopes they’ll be able to expand in the future.

Worcester said she wanted to start the backpack program because she saw the number of families needing help increasing.

“Poverty is in one in three families in Oceanside District 69 area, which people don’t realize,” she said. “They don’t wear a badge, they don’t look any different than the rest of us.”

READ MORE: Fundraising started for Christmas hampers for 100 families

Making the program year-round is a costly effort, but Worcester said she’s confident they’ll be able to meet their goal. Supporting a family for a year costs $575. Any donations receive a tax receipt, with all money going directly to the program.

“Fifty families this year is something that I feel confident that I can get the [community] to back,” she said. “Come next September, maybe we can adopt five more and then maybe 10 more.”

Since the program will replace the Secret Santa and All They Want for Christmas programs, the backpacks will contain a special backpack with two week’s worth of supplies, including food, clothing and toiletries, at the beginning of Christmas break. Starting in January, the backpacks will go home to the allotted families every Friday with two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and snacks.

On Friday, Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. there will be a steak-and-wine fundraiser for the program at the Mt. Arrowsmith Golf Club in Qualicum Beach. Tickets are $30 per person. The event will include a silent auction, entertainment and balloon draws.

For more information, contact Worcester at 250-240-0772.

cloe.logan@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File photo)
RCMP act quickly in response to report of gun-toting man in Parksville

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

(Google maps photo)
COVID-19: Case confirmed at École Oceanside Elementary School in Parksville

Dates of exposure were Thursday, Feb. 25 and Friday, Feb. 26

Donna Hales next to one of her paintings of Sooke. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville artist Donna Hales still displaying her work at age 94

Current exhibit at the McMillan Arts Centre through April 1

Thrifty Foods at 280 Island Highway East in Parksville. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Thrifty Foods store in Parksville briefly closes after small fire

Minimal damage and no injuries reported; store expected to re-open after 5 p.m.

(Philip Wolf photo)
WOLF: What’s in a name (2.0)? Parksville offers interesting list of dog monikers

List includes Rembrandt, Swayze, Zorro, Fabio, Fonzie and Yoda

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

Most Read