Guest blog post by Backpack Buddies
Every Friday, when nearly 1,000 students across Metro Vancouver pick up their backpack full of food and snacks for the weekend, they look forward to the moment when they get to untie the bag and peak at what’s inside.
One of their favourite parts is discovering what flavour of FreeYumm bar they received this week.
Every bag of food packed by Backpack Buddies includes a FreeYumm bar. As one of our longest-serving corporate sponsors, FreeYumm has been donating free snack bars for every kid, every week for three years!
And just like Backpack Buddies, FreeYumm was founded by a North Vancouver mom who saw a need in her community and dove in head first to fill the gap.
Sarah Clarke started FreeYumm in her home kitchen while trying to make snacks that were safe and tasty for her son.
“As a small child, my son suffered from various health issues,” she explains. “We couldn’t figure out why until discovering his long list of food sensitivities. I remember staring at the food in my pantry, struggling to find something to give him.”
Sarah started making various goodies to fill the void, and quickly discovered that her son wasn’t the only child being left out at snack time. “All of my recipes were tested on my son and his friends,” she says. “Made with oats, flax seeds, freeze dried fruits, and naturally sugared with maple syrup and organic honey. I wanted to make snacks that tasted good and were inclusive.”
All of Sarah’s snacks are free of the Top Nine Allergens which make it possible for up to 99% of kids to share in the fun. Still, Sarah felt there was more she and FreeYumm could do to help children.
“When I first read about Backpack Buddies, I was looking for a kids program that FreeYumm could support,” Sarah explains. “I already knew that underprivileged kids aren’t learning at school because they are hungry and that great programs have been setup to support feeding kids at school. But we forgot to ask ourselves, what happens to these children after they go home?”
“The idea that children live with this amount of anxiety around food – knowing that they probably won’t be fed over the weekend – it broke my heart.
FreeYumm quickly joined Backpack Buddies as a corporate sponsor and has been contributing delicious snacks to our bags of food ever since. They currently donate 3,000 bars per month, rotating through four bar flavours.
“It’s incredible,” says Backpack Buddies Co-Founder Joanne Griffiths. “The bars are delicious. The kids love them! And every time we add more bags, FreeYumm keeps giving us more.”
Our team at Backpack Buddies is deeply grateful to Sarah and FreeYumm for their inspiring generosity. Is your company interested in reaching Metro Vancouver’s most vulnerable children with Backpack Buddies? From volunteering with our packing and delivery team to hosting lunch and learns, the possibilities for partnerships are endless. We are keen to make your company’s giving experience meaningful to you – so get in touch.