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

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.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Transit Police officer and another driver were injured on Nov. 4 in a traffic crash while the officer was responding to another officers call for help catching a man who escaped custody. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Police watchdog investigating Surrey crash that injured transit cop, another driver

Crash happened 11 p.m. Nov. 4, at 128th Street and 93rd Avenue in Cedar Hills

Surrey RCMP is looking for witnesses and video after a fatal crash in Newton on Christmas Day 2020. Police say the driver left the scene before officers arrived at the 6700-block of King George Boulevard. (Photo: Curtis Kreklau)
Surrey RCMP seeking witnesses, video of fatal Christmas Day crash

Woman was killed in the 6700-block of King George Boulevard

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
‘Canada’s oldest senior’ receives COVID-19 vaccine at Surrey care home

JaHyung Lee, 110, is a resident at Amenida Seniors Community

Music therapist Felicia Wall in the music room at Phoenix Society in Surrey. (submitted photo)
Eclectic album showcases songs recorded by Surrey residents in recovery

Project at Phoenix Society took about six months to complete, with help of music therapist

Surrey Lacrosse Association president Sean Reid (left) and wife Angie (right) with their kids Leland, Cameron, Evan and Taya. (submitted photo)
Surrey Rebels open registration with plans for ‘skills and drills’ season of box lacrosse

Last spring, the timing of the pandemic hit the game particularly hard

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

The Fraser Valley Regional Library board of directors recently finalized its budget. (Black Press Media files)
Fraser Valley Regional Library budget not enough to keep up with booming population

Almost $5 million of books, DVDs, and ebooks to be purchased in 2021

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Most Read