“It’s just a way for us to say we’re thinking of you, and we hope you have a Merry Christmas.”
That’s what Amanda Merler says of Covenant House Vancouver’s yearly backpack drive.
But for the 275 homeless youth between 16 and 24 who receive the backpacks, it means a lot more than that.
“Our Christmas backpack program was created for the youth to have something at Christmas time, a way for the community to reach out and show their love to our youth,” said Merler.
“Youth come from situations of abuse, neglect. We are a place they can feel safe and secure, a place they can call home.”
Socks, underwear, toiletries, and many other household items were stuffed into the backpacks, and over 165 volunteers helped wrap them up today.
“I think Covenant House is doing an amazing job,” said Lindsay Boyle.
“We have a lot of youth that are struggling here with housing costs, and a lot of them age out foster care and a lot of them don’t have any support.”
“I think the backpacks are a symbol of hope,” added Scott Sinclair, another volunteer.
“It’s something that [says] hey, somebody cares about us and we might be able to imagine what we can do and a different way of life.”
The backpacks will be handed out this upcoming week, just in time for Christmas.
– With files from Jennifer Palma