Stephen’s Backpacks Society to honour Jim McPhee


The Stephen’s Backpacks Society is preparing to honour its co-founder, president, husband and father May 4 with a very special event – Yellow Hat Day.

According to Nancy McPhee, executive director, the event is a very fitting way to honour Jim McPhee, who passed away May 4, 2017, after a 14-year battle against cancer.

“After my husband passed away and at his celebration, different people got up and they were talking about how he left a room brighter than he found it,” she said. “I thought, what can I do to do something really special for him, in his memory? I just came up with the idea – the yellow hat is so significant of his son’s charity and so significant of the sunshine he brought to the community.”

Stephen’s Backpacks raises funds and awareness for homeless youth across Alberta. It was founded in 2006 by the McPhees and named for their now 16-year-old son Stephen who has a passion for helping others.

Airdrie City council proclaimed May 4 Yellow Hat Day during its Oct. 2, 2017 regular meeting. City Hall will be lit up in yellow in honour of the day.

McPhee said she decided to hold an event that would reflect Jim’s joy in bringing families and the community together. Yellow Hat Day will include a family event and an adults-only event, both to be held at Apple Creek Golf Course.

Families can enjoy pizza, popcorn, snacks, crafts and a viewing of Star Wars downstairs while the adults enjoy a roast beef and Yorkshire pudding dinner, entertainment and silent auction upstairs, McPhee said.

Tickets for the family event are $20 each and include the movie, snacks and children’s activities. The dinner is $40 per person. Tickets will be available soon on the Stephen’s Backpacks website,, or by calling McPhee at 403-852-9308. The evening’s events get underway at 5:30 p.m.

Anyone interested in donating a silent auction item is also encouraged to give McPhee a call.

Proceeds from the events will be distributed to local charities including Stephen’s Backpacks, North Rocky View Community Links and Project Linus.

McPhee said yellow hats will also be for sale for $20 beginning Feb. 14. They will be available at a variety of locations including Mane Image Hair Salon, the UPS Store and Watches and More.

“We really want to encourage people to be passionate and wear their yellow hat for that week of May 4,” she said.

Anyone seen wearing a yellow hat – whether it’s the official hat or another yellow hat – will be eligible to win prizes. The big prize is a $1,000 gift card for the Real Canadian Superstore.

“I think a big part of (Jim) surviving for 14 years was the yellow hat and his son’s charity – he dug even deeper to keep going. I think it’s really appropriate for him to be honoured in this way,” McPhee said.


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