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Advent Backpack Program

The F.O.O.D. Advent Backpack Project is a church-based initiative that provides Christmas gifts to the patrons of Margaret’s House and several other charities for adults including the St. Vincent de Paul society here in Dartmouth, Among Friends, Adsum Court, St. Leonard Center (Metro Turning Point) and many others. 


The Project started in 2004 and since then, the project has flourished and grown. In 2022 this project was able to provide gifts for more than 990 people in need.

Piles of backpacks and presents to go in them

Donate Goods

Below is a list of suggested items for inclusion in the backpacks and/or gift bags. Your donation of one or more of these items is greatly appreciated. Please have all donations in by Tuesday, Dec. 14

Donate Goods



Nail Clippers

Shaving Cream

Comb & Hairbrush sets

Body Wash


Breakfast/Granola Bars

Hand Sanitizer/masks


Umbrellas/Rain ponchos



Instant Oatmeal


Flashlights (with batteries)

Water Bottles/Thermal Mugs

Games/ Playing Cards

Razors (Men’s and Ladies’)

Shampoo/ Conditioner

Can Openers


Instant Coffee/Coffee Mate


$5 or $10 Coffee Gift Card


Donations ready to be sorted for the Advent backpack program

Donate Time

SATURDAY Dec. 16 10 a.m. - 1 p.m

St. Clement Church Hall -  16 Gaston Rd., Dartmouth

We need volunteers of all ages throughout the sorting and filling of backpacks/gift bags to continue to make this project a success. Bring the whole family as children and youth are part of the event connecting family and faith.

Donate Time

1. Sorting: Tables are set up along the walls with labels above them.


2. Gift Bag Sorting: Once the sorting starts, if you’re not working a table, you will be directed to another room which will be full of all the gift bags that were donated. 



3. Packing Bags: Starting from the end of the room, you will take either a blue (male) or red (female) backpack and walk around the room in a circle to all the tables and the table workers will put the goods from their table in your pack. Once you have reached the end, your full bag will be put in a pile with the others.

4. Distribution: After all the bags are filled, the main portion of the event is over and the packs will be transported to Margaret House and given out to the people they support at the Christmas dinner they provide.


Any leftover donations will then be sorted by a smaller group of table workers and volunteers into bags and boxes to be given to other local charities.

sorting donations into backpacks with volunteers
Sorting donations into backpacks
volunteers at the Advent Backpack program in church hall

Photos from Advent Backpack Program 2022

Contact Our Team

Deacon Gordon MacKinnon - Project Coordinator

Saint Andrew – Sheila Turner

Saint Clement - Glenda Carson

Saint John XXIII – Anne James

Cynthia Bourbonnais – Project Leader

Michelle Mackinnon – Tables Coordinator

J. Anthony MacKinnon – Table leader

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