After Thanksgiving comes World Hunger Day (on Oct. 16), and farmers from across Canada are well aware there are plenty of people in need of food.
The Farm Credit Corporation (FCC) Drive Away Hunger Ontario tour hit the road in the Guelph and Wellington County on Oct. 13.
FCC representatives and local volunteers drove a tractor to a number of elementary schools and area businesses to collect food. One tractor started in Guelph, and a second one did a route from Arthur to Drayton and Elmira.
FCC employees and volunteers drove tractors through southwestern Ontario communities to collect food and money for local food banks.
On Oct. 14, the tour headed to the Walkerton and Listowel areas. It visited the Lindsay and Barrie areas on Oct, 15, before wrapping up at Holland Marsh Soupfest in Bradford on Oct. 16.
Organizers said that donations were down slightly this year – until they arrived at Centre Wellington District High School. Then they had so many donations to make that they filled the wagon and were forced to use a van that accompanied the tractor and wagon.
Tristan Lane, on the executive of he high school’s student council, explained that last year’s food drive was not as successful as it might have been, so the council was determined to do a bang up job this year in garnering donations.
He admitted that the first few days in the week of collecting were slow, so the student council decided to encourage students by playing “bad music” in the cafeteria until the donations picked up.
“By Thursday, we reached our goal,” he said, adding that more food came in on Friday, too.
“We surprised ourselves,” he said with a grin. The school gave the FCC over 2,600 items
Tanya Ouimette, of the Centre Wellington Food Bank, was one of the volunteers touring with the tractor and wagon.
She said donations are down at the food bank this year, at a time when they are desperately needed.
Ouimette said the reason for the drop off is easy to explain. People are still losing jobs, and more people need food from the food bank.
She said in one day alone, 800 pounds of food went out to 11 individuals who needed to feed their families. That sounds like a lot, but the food has to last for a month.
Phil Krauter, the District Director for Farm Credit Canada in Guelph, said the drive has been a good one. He lauded a number of national sponsors, and noted the Stewart’s Farm Equipment had supplied the tractor and wagon for the day.
He also said that the FCC had presented the director of the Ontario Food Bank Association with a cheque earlier that day for $14,000. That money will be shared with food banks across the province.