Guelph Community Backpack Project

You have the ability to help make a difference in the lives of children throughout your community who are working towards a brighter future.


We know that one of the best poverty fighting tools is a full education – one free of disparities and inequalities. Every year, HOPE House organizes the city-wide Back-to-School Backpack program in partnership with other community service groups. We work to ensure that as many children as possible receive brand new backpacks with those supplies needed for students to be fully prepared, helping them to feel confident as they return to school.


As a parent, each year it is expected that you will outfit your child with a whole range of school supplies including a backpack, lunch box, pencils, calculator, geometry set, etc. And yet, children living in poverty have few of these resources and supports that we take for granted.


Research has demonstrated that children and youth living in poverty tend to have poorer education outcomes than their wealthier peers. Statistically these children have GPAs 25- 35% lower and are 4 times more likely to struggle with truancy and dropout. These discrepancies in results are not due to the lack of ability to perform but are rather the result of not have the necessary resources in order to be confident and successful.


Through our application process, we gather information on the student’s grade in order to offer a brand new backpack and supplies customized to each and every student as they shop for their needed supplies in an affordable pay what you can back-to-school market. By owning something brand new, our kids feel that they matter, that they are valued and that they have not been overlooked or forgotten. We are simultaneously helping their school readiness as well as their state of mind and self-confidence going into a new school year.


The application process begins annually in July and continues through to the first week of August. You can apply directly through HOPE House or through your closest neighbourhood group. The pay what you can markets are then held toward the end of August where you can choose your backpack(s) and necessary supplies.


No government funding is provided to complete this task and is therefore up to you, our generous community, to meet this growing need within Guelph.


Some words from parents from your community:


“Receiving a backpack helped ease my anxieties of all the necessities of back to school time. I didn’t have to worry about the supplies [I couldn’t afford] for the school year.”


“The backpacks are great because they free us from having to choose between groceries or school supplies. The backpack program helped us so we were able to afford school lunches”


“It gave my daughter a boost of confidence on the first day of school. She was excited and pleased to have a brand new backpack with brand new stuff in it.”


Let’s help Guelph students go back to school with confidence, excitement, and a readiness to learn!


You can support us in providing these powerful programs by donating here.


For volunteer inquiries please contact Gillian Cornell, Immediate Relief Manager at