The Strathmore Fire Department (SFD) and Holy Cross Collegiate (HCC) engaged in a friendly competition to see who could raise more food for the Wheatland County Foodbank, and the result was the biggest food drive the foodbank has ever seen.
The SFD raised a staggering 2516 pounds of food and $1019.15, while HCC wasn't too far behind with an equally impressive 2151 pounds. In total, that makes 4667 pounds, which Wheatland County Foodbank Executive Director Lynette Aschenbrenner was blown away by.
"It's huge for the food bank. This will fill our shelves and keep us going for quite a long time. We're seeing numbers that we've never seen before, so this will be great," she said.
"Our community is amazing, it's the biggest food drive we've ever had."
Aschenbrenner predicts this huge donation will carry the foodbank well into 2024, as far as things like canned goods go. While the need for fresh vegetables and other goods like sugar will continue to pop up throughout the year, this food drive ensured plenty of families will have enough to eat for at least an entire year.
HCC raised their food through their students, while the SFD dropped bags off at doorsteps where people could donate. SFD chief David Sturgeon is very grateful for how strongly the community responded to their initiative.
"It's been incredible, we're just the conduit to get the food here, we organized it, but it's all the residents that donated to make this happen. We're really proud of that. I think that's a big number and we're excited, I'm already thinking about next year," he said.
As for HCC, the top two classes for items donated earned a barbecue hosted by the SFD on March 23 for their efforts, being a grade 11 class and grade seven class. HCC teacher Carla Bisharat was pleasantly surprised with how strongly the students responded.
"It feels really good and honestly we're all just really proud of the students and how well they've done with this. We knew that our students were generous and they like to do that kind of stuff for their community, but we're really, really impressed and really blown away with how well the kids did and how many items they brought," she said.
While both sides are proud of how they came together to support the community, it was still a contest, and the SFD's win means the students will have to wash their firetrucks during the barbecue! Bisharat jokingly lamented that the students were measuring success by items donated rather than weight, and that may have cost them the win.
"I think the students thought that they won because of the number of items that we had, and I jokingly said to (firefighter) Kimball (Yorston) that we should have told the kids to not bring in so many Mr. Noodles because those don't weigh very much," she said with a laugh.
With this food drive competition resulting in the biggest donation ever, Aschenbrenner, Sturgeon, and Bisharat are all already looking forward to next year.
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