08/21/2012 01:53 EDT | Updated 10/21/2012 05:12 EDT

Salvation Army needs school supply donations

The B.C. Salvation Army says demand for its back to school charitable program has more than doubled in the past two years.

The program helps give backpacks full of school supplies to elementary school children in need.

"The bottom line is those kids go back to school with some good new things that they need and hopefully they're happier about it," said Maj. Russ Holland.

"They can walk into the school first day and they have all these school supplies. They have a backpack like everybody else."

The program has been up and running for 12 years, but Holland says demand has skyrocketed as the economy has shrunk.

"Two years ago I believe we gave out about 2,000 backpacks," he said. "This year it will be over 5,000."

Holland says it's a valuable service for families that are squeezed financially.

"It frees up some money for them to buy a new shirt or a pair of jeans for the kids as they go back to school," he said.

Staples is supplying backpacks free of cost. School supplies or cash donations can be dropped off at participating Fitness Town or Starbucks locations.

Anyone looking to donate can also text GIVEBC to 45678 to donate $5, which will be added to your phone bill.