EMCS students aim for 10,000 record

Annual fundraising event for Sooke Food Bank takes place Dec. 1

Edward Milne Community School’s leadership students are going for 10,000 again.

The group is gearing up for this year’s 10,000 Tonight event on Dec. 1, where hundreds of students and community volunteers gather up thousands of food items – all in one night.

Last year, EMCS collected more than 12,000 food items for the Sooke Food Bank (which serves about 10,000 people from Sooke to Port Renfrew) all on its own, and this year, the students are out to break the record again.

This time around, the school is also inviting other schools, community organizations and businesses, as well as prominent community leaders to become part of this event.

Volunteers are needed, said Grade 11 student Ella Constandinou, who volunteered last year and is part of the coordination effort for this event.

“We’ll try to get the word out there and get people to come and volunteer, even if they don’t have kids in the school,” she said.

Constandinou said last year a group of leadership club students went to the food bank and were astounded by how bare the shelves were – something they were willing and happy to change.

“Being able to put food into them and leave seeing them full was satisfying, so the effort really paid off,” she said.

Taking the group lead this year is Grade 12 student Nick Gakena, who is more directly involved with the community outreach this year.

“We’re trying to get people into the Christmas spirit and do something really big for the Sooke Food Bank once a year,” he said, noting that being involved with 10,000 Tonight for a second time is a rewarding experience.

“It’s really gratifying, having the real impact that you can as you’re organizing these events, it’s unlike anything else that we do,” Gakena said.

Like last year, all EMCS classes will compete to see which one gathers the most amount of nonperishable food items, with the winning class receiving a pizza lunch.

The leadership group is also planning a 10,000 Tonight event in the spring as well, “to keep the momentum going,” Constandinou said.

This year’s 10,000 Tonight will run from 5 to 9 p.m. and items can be dropped off at EMCS throughout the week before the event.