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Children in the Mandurah | Peel region are Hungry!

In our local community of Mandurah and the Peel region, there are hungry children who don't know where their next meal is coming from. For those who depend on school breakfast clubs or the kindness of their teachers throughout the week, each weekend brings anxiety, stress, fear and empty cupboards. 

The ever increasing cost of rent, household expenses and childcare has created an affordability crisis, and it has hit children and their families the hardest. One in five children in our local community are experiencing food insecurity. 

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The Weekend Hunger Gap

Hunger Doesn't take the weekend off

Imagine being 6 years old and knowing your next substantial meal may not come for days. Your days start and end with the pain of hunger.

 

There are more than 5,000 Children in our local schools who are at risk of or experiencing food insecurity. Whilst many have access to school breakfast clubs and support from teachers during school hours, Western Australia has no state or federally funded weekend or school holiday food programs for schoolchildren.

Studies show that children who are experiencing food insecurity incur delays in their physical, intellextual and emotional development. 

This is where we come in...

In our community, some schools are fortunate to host breakfast clubs, but unfortunately, not all students have access to this support. For many children, weekends and school holidays bring worries about where their next meal will come from.
 

But amidst this challenge, there's a ray of hope. Thanks to Telethon, and Bridge Builders as a 2024 beneficiary, hungry kids in our area will have access to vital assistance. Backpack Buddies is ensuring that no child faces hunger by delivering nutritious meals directly to those who need them most for the weekends.
 

With every Backpack distribute, Bridge Builders isn't just filling empty stomachs; they're nurturing aspirations, strengthening futures, and creating a safety net of care and empathy for our community's most vulnerable members.

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36%

of Households experience moderate to severe food insecurity

5,220

children in the Mandurah | Bindjareb region are food insecure.

7.5%

increase in grocery costs in 2023

How Will It Work?

Our Backpack Buddies program is unique because we deliver food directly to children and their families via their school. 

We will feed hungry kids with dignity and discretion

We will take steps to ensure kids aren’t ashamed to get help. Every Friday, the kids we serve will go home with a bag full of meals and snacks to last them the weekend. Coordinating with teachers, chaplains and administrators, we will ensure delivery is discreet so that no child feels singled out by this support. For the kids we serve, they will head home every Friday knowing where their next meal is coming from and are equipped to return to school on Monday ready to learn.

We will partner with local schools to connect with children in need.

Everything will be coordinated in partnership with teachers, administrators and chaplains. They will advise us on the needs of their students and discreetly identify children who will benefit most from receiving a bag of food for the weekend.

We will deliver bags of food directly to schools every week. 

We aim to work with grocery suppliers, social supermarkers and larger food rescue organisations to stretch every dollar we have so we can provide bags of food to local schools with identified need.

Buy a Backpack & Fill
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What's In a Backpack


Food will be selected in consultation with nutritionists and educators. Our bags are kid-approved, easy to prepare, and varied – perfect for growing children.

Ready-to-Eat

All our food is ready-to-eat because many of the kids we serve may be left home alone. They will have to prepare this food by themselves, often with very limited access to a microwave, stove or oven.

Largely Non-Perishable

Most of the food chosen will be  non-perishable because often kids may not have access to appropriate food storage space at home. We recognise the importance of fresh fruit and veggies and include fresh items that last a while outside the fridge like apples, oranges and carrots.

Kid Approved

Every item in our bags will be kid-approved because, most children are not particularly adventurous in their eating habits—they like and eat what they know.

Backpack Buddies 101

Here's how we get food into the hands of children who need it. 

What is the weekend hunger gap?

Many children who come from food insecure homes rely heavily on school breakfast club programs. However, over the weekend these children may not eat at all until school starts again on Monday. This is what we call the “weekend hunger gap.” Backpack Buddies addresses this crisis by providing kids with bags of kid-approved meals and snacks every Friday to last them the weekend and beyond.

How much does a Backpack of food cost?

It costs $20 to fill a backpack, though it is provided at no cost to child and their family via the school. Each bag contains enough meal items plus fresh produce where available and snacks to last the weekend.

Where does the food come from?

The majority of the food we provide in our backpacks is purchased from local supermarkets (Coles, Woolworths, Aldi & Costco). We also purchase where possible from social supermarkets such as Foodbank WA when items are available. We also have wonderful partnerships with other food rescue organisations such as Secondbite and Ozharvest, who contribute in-kind donations to our program.

How to Receive Food from Backpack Buddies

Are you a teacher, chaplain or parent that would like to connect a child you know with Backpack Buddies? We’ll answer your questions below.

How do you identify which children need food assistance via Backpack Buddies?

We work closely with teachers, administrators, and chaplains in schools across the Mandurah | Bindjareb region who advise us on the needs of their students and help identify those who could benefit most from receiving a bckpack of food every week.

How do you distribute the Backpack's every week?

Our staff and volunteers deliver backpacks of food to recipient schools *. The deliveries are met by a school representative who takes them to a discrete location for distribution to students as they head home on Friday afternoons. * Currently only within the Peel region of WA

How do I sign my child up to the Backpack Buddies program?

Currently, Backpack Buddies works with public schools across the Mandurah | Bindjareb region to distribute backpacks. If your child attends school in this area please connect with an administrator, teacher or chaplain at the school to find out if the participating in the Backpack Buddies program. Your school representative can then contact Bridge Builders to facilitate registration and distribution.

How do I register my school as a Backpack Buddies partner?

If you wish to sign your school up for Backpack Buddies, click the button below and fill out our Partnership Agreement form. Please note this program is currently only being rolled out in the Peel region of WA. If you are based in another region please feel free to complete the form and we will add you to our EOI list for future expansion.

How do I adjust the number of Backpack's my school is receiving?

Need more backpacks? Feel like you’re getting too many? No worries – we are happy to adjust your delivery. Please click the button below to contact our Schools Programs Coordinator Leandri Cronje.

Get Involved

The most frequently asked question is, “What can I do to support Backpack Buddies?” It costs approximately $20/week, $80/month or $800/school year to feed a child and their family. We greatly appreciate all your generous support!
 

So how can you get involved?

Can I make a donation?

Yes! We would love to have you join us as a donor. You can make a donation online by clicking the button below. We will issue you a charitable tax receipt for your donation.

Can I see your finacials?

Bridge Builders Inc. is a registered charity with ACNC. All our governance and financial information can be viewed online via the ACNC.

Can I volunteer to help Backpack Buddies?

Our program wouldn’t be possible without our incredible community of volunteers! We offer both individual and corporate volunteer opportunities.

Can my company volunteer with Backpack Buddies?

Absolutely! Through our Corporate Engagement program, we offer our corporate donors the opportunity to bring their team to our Mandurah based centre to pack our weekly backpacks and learn more about childhood hunger in our local community.

Can I host a virtual food drive?

Absolutely! It’s an awesome way to celebrate your birthday, engage your work team, or simply rally friends and family around a common goal. Click below to learn more!

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