Let’s Can Hunger: A Battle In The War On Hunger
Tweed is throwing down the gauntlet, sticking a friendly index finger in the chest of our neighbours, the Gallipeau Centre for a great cause this holiday season. The Let’s Can Hunger Challenge will pit two of our town’s largest businesses against one another to see which can raise the most food and cash for the Smiths Falls Community Food Bank.
Part of the Build a Mountain of Food Campaign, the Tweed-Gallipeau Centre Let’s Can Hunger Challenge will represent one local battle in a regional war of sorts against hunger. Campaign founder and organizer Hugh Colton says that what started as a singular drive to raise food and funds for one town has morphed into a concerted community effort.
He says the size of the campaign has grown geographically and exponentially since its first year, when his team collected 32,000 pounds of groceries and $1,500 in cash. Last year’s drive, the largest yet, produced $70,000 and 140,000 pounds of food! In total, the Build a Mountain of Food Campaign has amassed an impressive 555,552 pounds of groceries and a quarter-million in cash donations.
Entering its tenth year, the campaign has become a celebrated event on the charitable calendar in this region. Its evolving success over the last decade, believes Colton, can be counted in large part to the fact 100 percent of all cash and food donations remain in the towns and villages in which they’re made.
“You can give where you live, which means that no food travels farther than your local food bank,” he says. “The people that give want to give within their community. They know that there’s no central warehouse here and that if they live in Westport, that their food and their cash donations remain in Westport.”
Or, if not Westport, any of the 11 community food banks that have been adopted under the umbrella of the initiative. While Colton admits it can be a bit of logistic challenge trying to juggle so many interests during the holiday season, he thanks a laundry list of community supporters – service clubs, schools and dozens of local businesses – for making the drive manageable.
“There’s a lot of work when you talk about doing a six-week road trip with all these communities and then you throw in some Santa Claus parades and a holiday train or two,” Colton says. “You’re on the road a fair amount. Thankfully, I have a number of really caring people that just step up to the plate every year.”
This year’s campaign runs from Saturday November 12, when the Build a Mountain of Food campaign kicks off in Carleton Place and Almonte, wrapping up Dec. 17 with Colton and his team visiting Athens in the morning and Delta that afternoon. Throughout the month-long drive, there will be food blitzes held in every participating community – Lanark, Smiths Falls, Westport, Elgin, Portland and Merrickville – where title sponsor Town and Country Chrysler will be trying to pack a Dodge Caravan like a grocery cart, to the brim with food!
Interested in getting involved? Pre-packaged bags are available at area grocery stores that make giving easy; you’ll find a list of the most-needed items outlined. Or, if you’re really keen, Colton says he’s always looking for volunteers to add to the cast of people needed to drive vans, host blitzes and organize donations. For more information, email Hugh Colton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s to Future Growth!
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