The weather outside was frightful, but the driving rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the more than 60 volunteers at Edward Milne Community School on Wednesday evening.
They gathered at the school for the fourth annual 10,000 Tonight food drive.
The school was a bustle of activity with students and community volunteers hauling in and sorting the boxes of food that had been collected throughout the community.
Allana Garat, one of the student co-leaders of the initiative, said she was thrilled when at about 7 p.m. the tote board above the foyer showed the goal of 10,000 items had been reached.
“It’s only seven o’clock and we’ve met our goal, and we still have four teams out there collecting food,” Garat said.
“Last year we collected more than 14,000 items, and I really hope we can beat that total tonight.”
That wish was granted when, at the end of the night, the number of items collected substantially exceeded last year’s record amount with a grand total of 16,359 items collected.
Todd Powell, EMCS vice-principal and one of the staff overseeing the leadership program behind the event, beamed with pride as he watched the food donations roll into the school.
“We’ve come to realize that there is no other community as tight and supportive as Sooke, and the young people in this school have shown that they are great representatives of that generous, giving spirit,” he said.
Once the food is delivered to the food bank, some of the students will be following up by going there to help distribute hampers on the weekend.
“We know some of the families who use the food bank, and we just think, especially at Christmas, no one should have to worry about having to put food on the table,” Garat said.
The evening was made possible by the selfless support of EMCS students who were joined by the students of Poirier and John Muir elementary schools and volunteers from the Sooke Lions Club, community volunteers and the help of Coldstar Solutions which donated the use of one of their trucks.