North Van school fills backpacks with supplies for people in need

Argyle Secondary students have been filling backpacks with more than just school supplies recently.

After school on Feb. 21, a group of students on school council made the trek from Lynn Valley to the North Shore Housing Centre on West Second Street bearing dozens of backpacks filled to the brim with simple survival supplies and necessities that will be given to people in the community who need it.

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This is the fifth year in a row Argyle students have completed their Backpack Initiative in support of the housing centre.

The housing centre is operated by Lookout Housing and Health Society, a non-profit organization which provides housing and a range of support services to adults with low or no income and who have limited housing options.

“I think it’s just a really cool opportunity to give back to our community because there’s a lot of people out there who are a lot less fortunate than a lot of the students at Argyle,” said Ethan Markey, a Grade 12 student.

Grade 10 student Daniella Damanpak added that she liked how the Backpack Initiative tasks all student council members with filling a backpack to be donated on their own accord. In addition, students throughout the school are also encouraged to donate individual items to help fill the backpacks, she said.

The backpacks include items such toiletries, shampoo, socks, clothes, toothpaste and other items someone might need if they’re not sure where they’ll be spending the night.

“Ultimately the goal is when people show up here and they need something to go, inside are a bunch of supplies they can use,” said Milan Boljuncic, a physical education teacher and teacher-sponsor of Argyle’s student council. “Every class in the school is involved in this. … The idea is trying to find some way to allow our kids to give back.”

Grade 12 student Sabrina Tsumura said she was happy the backpacks could be donated to a local organization which specifically supports people on the North Shore in need.

“We’re very fortunate with all that we have, so to be able to give back is something special,” she said.

In an emailed statement, Lookout Society CEO Shayne Williams said the organization appreciated the efforts of Argyle students and staff for their donation of more than 36 backpacks for people that use the services provided by the North Shore shelter.

“The awesome generosity from community members is helping to improve the lives of the people Lookout serves,” stated Williams.

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