As an organization that’s value is in physical items, our ability to grow and help more in our community is completely reliant on the donations from our supporters and advocates. We have spent the last few years building, testing and documenting all the best ways to do that!

Below are a range of programs fit to groups of any size. Don’t forget, that individual items are just as important to us then fully completed backpacks, so don’t worry if you cannot hit all the items on the donation list. Our dollar donations allow us to keep individual items in stock to add any final touches to backpacks before donating – to ensure every child is gifted with a fully stocked backpack they can call their own!

All in-kind donations can be delivered to any of our drop-off locations or you can contact us directly ( to arrange a pick-up.

We have developed the Build a Bag for Belonging program to be for any individual or group that wants to collect and donate full backpacks. This is a great initiative for a corporate group, club or groups of any size to get together and build some backpacks.

1. Find a backpack
Start with a new average-sized backpack. 

2. Who are you packing for? 
A girl, boy, or a gender-neutral bag, and the age. Attach the downloadable tag below to the outside of the bag. 

3. Fill with gifts 
Each backpack contains a pair of pajamas, small blanket, toiletries, reading book, colouring or sketchbook, colouring utensils, writing utensils, and “WOW” items. This can include fun toys, stuffed animals, school supplies, accessories, crafts. Place liquids and toothbrushes/paste inside ziploc baggies. 

 4. Drop off or request pickup 
Donations can be dropped off at one of our 3 sponsoring Sentinel Storage locations. Or send an email to and we will arrange to come to you to collect the bags! 

Back in 2018, the idea for I Belong Bags was started in a Grade 1 classroom. Our Founder and President, Tanya, worked with her daughter’s teacher to design and execute a donation drive, build backpacks in a group activity and donate them to kids in crisis.

We have now formalized this donation drive into a fun and easy to organize five-step program for classrooms of all ages! With two options for how to organize donations, teachers, parents and students can choose how they would like to participate.

  1. Choose between our two options for what type of donation drive you would like to run
  2. Select a timeline
  3. Spread the word
  4. Document the reactions and comments from students and parents, take pictures and videos to share with your community and us (with permission)
  5. Drop off your donations or contact us to arrange a pick-up

Raising Empathy School Program

In 2022 we partnered with Starlings Community Inc. to build a curriculum for students up to Grade 4, to learn about what it means to be empathetic with a focus on connecting us to our similarities and celebrating the differences that make us unique.

The program has three modules of education focused on different aspects of empathy and associated activities to be done in the classroom, followed by instructions on how to build backpacks to be donated to I Belong Bags.

  1. Physical & Emotional Needs
  2. Our Brain and Body on Stress
  3. The Power of Community
  4. Backpack Filling

This is a great option to be run on it’s own, or to pair the School Program in place of activity four for teachers looking to run a larger donation drive.