Edward Milne Community School students are gearing up for their fifth annual 10,000 Tonight food drive and organizers
are calling on Sooke residents to match past years’ generosity to push this year’s drive over the top.
It’s an ambitious goal considering that more than 16,000 food items were collected last year.
That food was critical for stocking the shelves of the Sooke Food Bank during the Christmas season and beyond.
But as much as the night-of collection is critical to the food drive’s success, event organizer Marin Clarkston said it’s those early donations that really serve to give the project a leg-up.
“We have donation bins out in the grocery stores and places like SEAPARC to start collecting items early. We also have bins in the school and a bit of a competition between classes to see which class can collect the most items,” she said.
Clarkston is a member of the EMCS leadership class and she and her classmates take a lead role in organizing the annual event.
“Last year by the time the 10,000 Tonight event started, we already had more than 4,000 items donated,” Clarkston said.
That helped the drive exceed the 10,000 item goal by 7 p.m., as thousands of additional items continued to flow in.
“We really encourage people to donate at the food bins that are out there right now but also to be ready to offer some items on the night of Dec. 11 when our students and other volunteers will be knocking on doors asking for donations,” Todd Powell, leadership class teacher, said.
Powell said while he’s proud of his students for spearheading this initiative, he has a lot of gratitude for the parent drivers and other volunteers in the community who combine their efforts to make the drive a success.
“We get help from Sooke Minor Hockey, the Sooke Soccer Club, cadets, and a lot of others to make this possible,” Powell said.
Other Sooke schools have also stepped in to help with volunteers from Journey Middle School and beyond, all offering their help.
In addition to the 10,000 Tonight initiative, the EMCS leadership class takes part in a variety of other community events and causes and in the spring repeats the food drive effort with the Spring Out of Hunger food drive.
“There’s no easy answer to the situation (of hunger in the community), but we can only try to make it better,” Clarkston said.
The 10,000 Tonight food drive takes place on Dec. 11, from 5 to 9 p.m.