FCC held its annual fill up the food bank drive across Canada on October 15, with Alberta employees collecting 83,572 pounds of food for local food banks.
FCC has been running the food drive since 2004. That year, a single employee from the Listowel, Ontario office wanted to do something to help his local food bank. He drove a tractor and trailer around his region, camping out on the way, with a goal of collecting 30,000 lbs of food. He collected 60,000 lbs, and FCC adopted the food drive as its main way to give back to the communities where its people work. The tractor tour to commemorate that first food drive is moved to a different region of the country each year.
This year southern Alberta was the region chosen to host the tractor drive, with tractors and trailers heading to schools and businesses that participated by collecting food and cash donations.
Each year FCC has raised its food collection goal to a million pounds, the first time it put the goal so high. The crown corporation allocates 1,500 hours of staff time to the project, but all the staff put in a lot of volunteer hours as well.
“It’s a huge amount of work, organizing the food drive, especially with the tractor tour,” says Jason Lewis, a relationship manager with FCC in Lethbridge, who was the lead volunteer for the tractor tour and food drive. “It takes months to visit schools and businesses in our community to ask them to participate and then line up sponsors to provide tractors and trailers. The co-ordination seems endless, checking everything so that it all goes smoothly and we get everything done in one day.
“Then, we get to the schools and the kids make it all worthwhile. The kids are so happy to be involved and to be part of something that’s a team effort.”
FCC staff and food drive sponsors collected food on Oct. 14 and 15.
“The timing of the Food Drive is wonderful,” says Lewis. “It draws attention to the needs of food banks after the Thanksgiving holiday and right before World Food Day on October 16th,”
Lewis had four elementary and one junior high school in Lethbridge participate in the food drive, as well as businesses and corporate sponsors and some FCC clients. Brooks, Taber, Coaldale and Medicine Hat also participated.
Southern Alberta donations totaled 54,129 lbs, with cash donations counted as equivalent to two lbs.