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BGC Kamloops Backpacks help fill Youth Pandemic Pantry

BGC Kamloops Backpacks help fill Youth Pandemic Pantry

Youth carrying backpacks is a common sight but for some local youth, some backpacks make the difference between going hungry during the week or not. BGC Kamloops (formerly known as Boys and Girls Club of Kamloops) has long been giving backpacks full of food and hygiene supplies to youth ages 11-24 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need has increased dramatically.

“Pre-pandemic we gave out, at most, 10 hampers a month. Now we give out easily 40 hampers a month, which is why we are making this call for donations,” says Abby Smith, youth programs leader.

BGC Kamloops is asking for donations to help fill backpacks for the Christmas break.

The weekly backpacks are full of items like laundry pods, toilet paper, other cleaning materials, personal hygiene products, and non-perishable food items. The average cost per backpack is $15 and it can make a huge difference for youth.

“Youth self-identify their needs. If someone wants granola bars or a package of toilet paper, we do not question it. It’s not for us to determine if they need it or not. It’s up to us that they get it,” says Smith adding that the pandemic has increased food insecurity in youth and it has hit the larger population.