Backpack Buddies coming to Victoria to help deal with child hunger

A charity aimed at fighting child hunger arrives in Victoria today with an aim of making a difference at area schools.

Backpack Buddies was created in 2012 by a mother/daughter team. It began by giving 20 backpacks full of food to children in need, and has grown to work with over 50 schools in Metro Vancouver.

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The idea is to fill what organizers call “the weekend hunger gap,” since some vulnerable students can use school-based meal programs on weekdays.

“Hunger doesn’t take the weekend off and children shouldn’t suffer,” Backpack Buddies co-founder Joanne Griffiths said in a statement. “We’re expanding into Victoria for the first time because we don’t want vulnerable kids here to be hungry and fearful every Friday.”

Backpacks are provided discretely to students on Fridays, with the organization saying its goal in Victoria is to provide 1,000 backpacks a month.

A key part of the effort is the involvement of “buddy schools,” whose students are responsible for raising awareness among their peers about childhood hunger and gathering volunteers to pack the backpacks to help others.

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