Operation Backpack update

The first backpacks were dropped off this week and what a sight that was!

It is heartwarming to see the effort that has gone into picking out these items,with thought for what these children might find not only useful,but entertaining and soothing.

And it is heartwarming to see that it is not just people in Surrey who are stepping up, but people who live outside our own city.

We are pleased to announce that the distribution will be handled via a local front line agency, Options Community Services, who will be directly helping families with settlement services in Surrey.

They are currently updating their website to include donations specifically for Syrian refugees in terms of cash, housing options and/or volunteering.They will  also be looking for Arabic speaking volunteers especially, so please contact them directly if you can assist with any of the above.  Because storage is an issue, please do not just drop things off at the office, but please contact them first to find out the guidelines.

Because storage is an issue, I’ll  continue to manage the acceptance of the backpacks until they can accommodate or distribute. Because the government and agencies are still working out the details on arrivals, how many etc, we do not have a firm date for distribution,but I will keep you updated!!

To date, there are firm commitments for nearly a hundred backpacks, and they are slowly coming in! If you have promised a backpack, please arrange with me to drop off or have it picked up at your earliest convenience! ( Update Nov.27th- the bulk of incoming govt sponsored refugees will occur in January and February- our time pressure is relieved significantly since the original announcement of 500 kids before years end)

We are still looking for more backpacks, either via individual donations

( Buy a backpack,fill it with school supplies and give me a shout!) or via a store/business donation. Any that are not needed in Surrey,will be transferred to another agency,in another city that needs them!
At this time of year there is tremendous generosity but also a high demand and requests for donations, and requests for backpacks and supplies has not been successful with local businesses who have already made contributions elsewhere.

 So,if you know of a business or organization that would like to send some our way, please let me know! We would really like to make sure every child & teen coming in, is able to have one of these backpacks.

I’d also like to thank the great folks from the Cloverdale Rodeo/fairgrounds and WestCoast amusements, for a generous donation of 100 plush toys to pair with  each backpack.It always makes a difference, when you give where you live and we appreciate that so much!!



backpacks, non gender specific. ( we would like to have some designed for kids under 9, the rest aimed for tween and teens) 


pencil cases

crayons.pencil crayons, pens,pencils, erasers, notebooks, binders etc. Basic items most kids/teens can use for school and to pass time outside of school. 

Colouring books are great stress-relievers,also will help keep kids amused while parents are dealing with settlement issues.

Those stretchy one size fits all gloves & toques for winter

** If there is one thing that the refugee crisis has highlighted, it is the tremendous need for assistance at every level in our city. There is no better time for you to find out how and where you can help make a difference, and why it is so important that we all lobby for more funding at the provincial and federal level.

7 thoughts on “Operation Backpack update

    1. We have our first Elementary school who is helping out now!! Each of 22 classes will be donating one backpack and the kids are so eager to help and welcome new Syrian children! Such a learning and loving exercise in building bridges of community.

      Maybe this will help build social supports too in schools 🙂


  1. Thanks for posting pictures of what’s in them! I see that many of us had the idea to provide things that would keep hands busy but I hadn’t thought of candies too! Will add those! My friend and I have put together 4 backpacks. When would be a good time to drop them off at Options?


    1. Options has no room for them yet- I was just on a tour there, and so I am collecting and having them stored until they can accept them all. There are still several large donations to be collected- thank goodness the time crunch is not such an issue with the majority of the govt sponsored refugees coming in January/February. If you email me directly via the contact page, I’ll arrange to collect them or have a volunteer do so! Many thanks Lizanne – and stay tuned for another update shortly!! 🙂


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