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

North Delta crime beat: week of May 15

A selection of property crimes submitted weekly by the Delta Police Department

Historic Stewart Farm’s Royal Victorian Party

Event celebrated in South Surrey last week

Nobody injured after vehicle crashes into two Surrey businesses

Fleetwood incident happened at approximately 11 a.m.

VIDEO: Burn survivor’s scars now a ‘badge of honour’

White Rock woman shares story of survival after a terrible accident in 1978

International company opens new facility in South Surrey

DSV is one of the world’s largest suppliers of transport and logistics services

Buy a lotto ticket and be a hero to B.C. burn victims

The Hometown Heroes Lottery is offering up seven grand prizes including a home in Lake Country

VIDEO: Pipeline supporters rally across B.C.

Five simultaneous events organized by month-old Suits and Boots lobby group

Giant beer tanks arrive in new B.C. home city

Molson Coors tanks finish river journey and move to overland trip in Chilliwack

B.C.’s Ryan Craig, Vegas Golden Knights chase history

Local product behind bench for expansion team’s incredible championship run

CP rail workers give strike notice

Employees could walk out as early as Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT

Vote points to abortion being legalized in Ireland

Voters asked whether to keep or repeal Eighth Amendment to Roman Catholic Ireland’s Constitution

COLUMN: Women’s breasts really aren’t that big a deal

A follow on some Princeton, B.C., students gained considerable exposure when they dropped their bras

Canadian soccer officials talk up World Cup bid at Champions League final

Current bid calls for 2026 World Cup games to be staged in the U.S., Canada and Mexico

Most Read