Although the pandemic disrupted the largest food drive on the West Shore, the Sooke School District found a way to turn lemons into lemonade.
Last month, SD62 raised over $18,000 for the Goldstream Food Bank and Sooke Food Bank with 10,000 Tonight. The annual event sees hundreds of students and volunteers collect non-perishable food items across the West Shore.
“Things ended up working out even though the whole thing was kiboshed,” said Christine Hoskins, co-teacher lead for Belmont Secondary. “It was disheartening to tell the kids that their plans to volunteer at the drive-thru wasn’t going through, but the community blew us away.”
Belmont in Langford raised $2,780 for the Goldstream Food Bank.
Belmont, Royal Bay and Edward Milne secondary schools had to abruptly cancel their plans for a drive-thru version of 10,000 Tonight after the province determined the event wasn’t safe enough amid rising provincial cases in December.
The schools instead focused on online donations.
Last year, they collectively donated almost 44,000 non-perishable items for the food bank.
Meanwhile, Royal Bay in Colwood raised $4,625, according to co-teacher lead Sara Checkley. They received almost 1,500 food items as well.
Checkley said she’s looking forward to the day that they can return to collecting non-perishables around their school’s neighbourhood.
“There’s something to be said about teachers, parents and students collecting the food on that special night,” said Checkley. “Our kids really value that time because it strengthens relationships whenever they work together.”
Edward Milne Community School vice-principal Todd Stone said the overwhelming success from their online auction may mean a pivot towards mainly online donations.
Edward Milne raised over $11,000.
“We were all so shocked,” said Grade 12 student Genelle Hill. “It really just snowballed and we didn’t expect the outcome we got at all.”
Altogether the schools raised over $18,600, with a cash value between $37,000 and $46,000 as local food banks have two to 2.5 times more spending power.
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