Summerside Boys and Girls Club sees jump in demand during pandemic

·1 min read

The Boys and Girls Club in Summerside, P.E.I., says demand for its program Project Backpack has grown immensely during the pandemic.

The program involves delivering nutritious food, recipes, activities and gift cards to the doorsteps of families in need to help get them through the weekend.

"Prior to COVID, Project Backpack, we were meeting the needs of 24 families," said the organization's executive director Adam Binkley.

"During COVID right up to today, we're meeting the needs of over 70 families with a wait-list that is actually growing weekly."

'There's a huge need'

Binkley said the program has been going on for around four years and at last count there were about 15 families waiting.


"The entire province has kind of gathered around us to help us meet these needs, which has been fabulous."

Some families greet the staff at the door in tears, Binkley said. The club has also received personal letters of thanks in the mail.

"Families really need this," he said. "They really don't know how they could have gotten through COVID without this service."

Summerside's Boys and Girls Club has seen a rise in demand for other services as well. But because of COVID-19 restrictions, Binkley said it's not able to meet the demands of as many children.

Binkley said some services are being provided online, however there is still a 20-person wait-list for the after-school program, and the breakfast program is at 100 per cent capacity.

"With layoffs that are happening and now the ripple effects of COVID, it seems now more than ever there's a huge need," he said.

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