The annual 10,000 Tonight food drive, put on by Royal Bay Secondary, Belmont Secondary and Edward Milne Community Schools, is looking different this year, with events taking place over a fortnight.
Usually students from the schools go door to door, trying to gather 10,000 non-perishable food items in one night. But because of COVID-19, the students have had to alter the events. The food drive is now taking place over two weeks with each school hosting different events.
The goal of gathering 10,000 items is the same, says Brian Hobson, PE department head at Royal Bay Secondary School, but there is also a focus on cash donations this year. Hobson says cash can often go further for food banks, which is important with demand spiking this year.
“One thing we know is that the need is greater than ever,” he said. “We approach it from the perspective that anything that we can give is better than nothing. So you know, while we have a pretty lofty goal of reaching 10,000, we’re pretty happy with any support that we get.”
Royal Bay has an online donation portal where people can get tax receipts. They’re also hosting a drive-thru donation event on Nov. 30 and Dec. 2, 7 and 9 from 4 to 7 p.m., where community members can drop off non-perishable food items.
Belmont is hosting drive-thru drop-offs on Wednesday, Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 from 5 to 8 p.m. They also have an online donation account set up for the school and are working on setting up a QR code to make donating easier. Donations and funds raised by the two schools go towards the Goldstream Food Bank Society.
Edward Milne Community School is focusing on cash donations, and is collecting them through the school’s online payment portal and holding an auction on Facebook, with local businesses having donated items people can bid on. Students will also be gathering donations outside some Sooke businesses, and others are collecting donations in stores.
“It was a lot different than how we’ve done it in the past,” said Grade 11 student Rylan Domenichelli, who is part of the organizing team. “But it also was a bit easier for us because last year we also only had monetary donations, so we kind of based our event this year off of last year and then added in a few more community things.”
Tija Dalep, a Grade 12 student who’s also helping organize the event, said it was important to involve local businesses to help link up more with the community.
Domenichelli said because of the new format, they haven’t set an exact goal for donations, but are just hoping to raise as much as possible.