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Denver couple using profits from their backpack company to help families in need this holiday season

Denver couple donate backpacks and meals with their company
Kelly Belknap and Matilda Sandstroem, the co-founders of Adventurist Backpack Co, which provides meals for those in need.
Posted at 1:28 PM, Nov 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-26 19:52:23-05

DENVER — Kelly Belknap and Matilda Sandstroem are on a mission, to not only make a profit, but make a difference with their backpack company, Adventurist Backpack Co.

The six-year-old company donates meals to those in need with every backpack sold. This Black Friday weekend, they're running a second donation event, donating a backpack to a student in need for every backpack sold.

Although boasting impressive profits, even more impressive is that the pair has now donated more than 370,000 meals for hungry families through a partner nonprofit, Feeding America.

"Through our partnership with Feeding America, we donate 25 meals for any bag sold,” said Sandstroem.

Avid hikers, Belknap and Sandstroem struggled to find a backpack that met their needs. Some were too rugged, others not tough enough and most importantly of all, the duo struggled to find a high-quality backpack that was below $100.

After starting with backpacks, Belknap and Sandstroem started to expand. They added the Sidekick Crossbody. A year later, they started making sling bags, like the Summit and the Nomad.

"We couldn't really find one that we wanted so made them instead," said Belknap.

After building the business, they decided to use the profits to make a positive impact on their community.

In addition to their meal program, they hope the strong Black Friday business will allow them to donate between 100 to 200 backpacks this holiday season, through a partnership with The Denver Public Schools Foundation.

"Give back Friday is what we're calling it," said Belknap. "We wanted to kind of use a high consumption weekend and turn it to a force for good if we could and obviously, with backpacks, it kind of fits in perfectly with our brand."

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