More than 100 of these CityPak backpacks will be distributed to Surrey’s homeless this year. (Photos submitted by Union Gospel Mission)

VIDEO: 150 ‘street proof’ backpacks for Surrey’s homeless

Custom ‘CityPak’ backpacks feature built-in rain gear and anti-theft measures to help homeless

A total of 750 “street proof” backpacks will be delivered to the region’s homeless this year and 150 of them have made their way to Surrey.

Union Gospel Mission and Wolfe Auto Group have partnered with the CityPak Project to deliver the custom backpacks, which are designed for life on the street.

The backpacks feature a built-in rain poncho, compression straps for bedding, reflective straps, durable material and anti-theft loops.

In Surrey, the bags have been handed out at Surrey Urban Mission Society (SUMS), located at the corner of 108th Avenue and King George Boulevard.

In a video about the distribution event, SUMS director Michael Musgrove said the Whalley neighbourhood they serve is one of the poorest postal codes in Canada.

“We have a lot of folks who are in need of help, they’re struggling with homelessness. CityPak has become an awesome tool in just helping people out,” he said.

“Often we don’t have bags and stuff to give out. Getting these CityPaks has been an absolutely awesome gift to be able to give to folks. They’re excited, it’s a great thing. It’s not easy living on the streets. I see a lot of people struggling with it but this will make it a little bit more bearable.”

“Those are the CityPaks, aren’t they?” a woman asked in the video. “Bless you. Thank you Michael.”

“I’ve been a lot of places with that bag, that’s for sure,” says a man, smiling.

See more: Count finds 49 per cent more homeless people in Surrey

See more: HOMELESS COUNT: The toll of Surrey streets

See more: More than 100 seniors living on Surrey streets: homeless count

Each CityPak costs roughly US $32 and this year, the costs were shared by CityPak and Wolfe Auto Group. Union Gospel Mission (UGM) helped co-ordinate and distribute the packs.

UGM’s Jeremy Hunka said the bags were popular in Metro Vancouver last year and “demand is through the roof” this time around.

Though most will be distributed in Vancouver, more than 300 will go south of the Fraser River.

The bags are destined for six organizations in the Downtown Eastside, New Westminster, Surrey, Langley, and Abbotsford.

“After witnessing the impact these survival bags had on individuals last year, we knew our good deed went a long way,” said Wolfe Auto Group’s Tristan Schon.

“We really wanted to bring City Pak to charities in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley again this year.”

Just Posted

VIDEO: Collision in Surrey breaks axle off SUV

Two people were reportedly sent to hospital

Students spend night in White Rock shelter

Students hear powerful stories about homelessness on the Semiahmoo Peninsula

PHOTOS: Snoozing seal pup captures attention at White Rock Pier

Dozens of seals spent the day at White Rock’s iconic structure

A look at White Rock’s next council agenda

Following a public hearing, council will hear annual reports from a number of its committees

‘Meet Your Muslim Neighbour’ event bridges gap on Semiahmoo Peninsula, association says

Event serves as an educational space for residents in South Surrey-White Rock

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

Security camera records hatchet attack on Langley store owner

Target escaped uninjured, but was ‘upset’ by incident

Rowing Canada, UVic investigate celebrated coach for harassment, abuse

Lily Copeland says she felt intimidated and trapped by Williams

Cleanup in the works after tanker truck fire leads to oil spill in B.C.’s Peace region

The province said the majority of the spilled oil likely burned away in the fire.

BC VIEWS: Action needed on healthcare workplace violence

While we’ve been talking about it, the number of B.C. victims has only grown

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants blank Cougars 4-0

Goaltender David Tendeck turned aside all 38 Prince George shots for his WHL-leading third shutout

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

Most Read