Although the Alberni District Secondary School athletic department’s food drive had to be postponed due to snow, the event was still a success.
The annual food drive is an opportunity for students to give back to the community, but it’s also a fun event that student athletes look forward to every year. Students travel around town in school buses, knocking on doors and collecting donations of non-perishables and cash for the local Salvation Army.
“We probably have over 100 kids out now, canvassing and doing their thing,” said ADSS director Mike Roberts during the food drive on Monday, Dec. 5. “If they didn’t enjoy this, they wouldn’t come back year after year.”
This year was the 10th annual food drive, since the department was forced to skip a year due to COVID-19 restrictions. The food drive started when the school moved to its current location on Roger Street, and the first year was an “ad hoc” event, said Roberts.
“We decided to grab a bus and head out into the community to get a bunch of food,” said Roberts.
Since then, the event has grown and evolved to involve hundreds of student athletes and multiple buses, filling up a truck of food for the Salvation Army.
Major Michael Ramsay of the Salvation Army says the support is appreciated, as the increased cost of things like gas and groceries has driven more people than ever to use the food bank in Port Alberni.
“The need this year is so much more,” he said. “We have so many first-time people in need of services this year. A lot of our traditional supporters have been seniors on a fixed income, and their income hasn’t gone up to meet costs. They’re needing to receive for the first time ever.”
The Salvation Army’s goal this year is to raise $150,000 through its kettle campaign, said Ramsay. All the funds donated in Port Alberni will stay in the community, going towards the food bank, as well as toys, support and services.
“So far it’s been off to a very good start,” said Ramsay. “We really are the community with a heart—otherwise I don’t think we could meet the need.”
The ADSS food drive last Monday ended with hot dogs and hot chocolate for participating athletes as ADSS staff helped to load up the Salvation Army truck. A few people also stopped by to drop off their own donations.
“We try to vary up the routes each year, but we can’t reach everyone,” said Roberts. “We hope we’re still doing this in another 10 years.”
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