The Helping Hands Society of Cochrane and Area were hard at work all over town on Saturday in the annual food drive, with their trucks and vans busily accepting the generosity of townsfolk who were asked to put out bags and boxes of food for those less fortunate.
The army of about 100 Helping Hands volunteers amassed enough non-perishable food items to fill eight pumpkin boxes. That’s the easiest way for them to measure the success of the drives – those boxes full of pumpkins that are seen outside grocery stores this time of year.
Helping Hands’ food security programs manager April Baird was impressed with the turnout and the total food donation, especially given the fact that volunteers knew they’d be venturing out at 10 am into the midst of a more challenging environment than in most years.
“Despite the traffic woes in Cochrane,” she chuckled, “all teams were done and wrapped up well before 1 pm.”
Baird said the efficiency is aided by working closely with the Activettes Food Bank, to collect and drop off that much food.
“The great thing about Helping Hands food drives is it’s a minimal time commitment, for a really big impact,” she said.
“The other really neat thing is we encourage families to volunteer – we highlight that this is an opportunity for the whole family to participate.”
Kids really seem to enjoy the experience of going door-to-door searching out the parcels of food people left out ahead of time.
“They feel it’s a bit of a treasure hunt,” she laughed. “And they say hello to neighbours they may not have met before.”
On Sep. 30, Helping Hands will be out on the streets collecting non-perishable items once again. Their van will be parked at the Every Child Matters Truth and Reconciliation Walk at McDougall United Church in Morley at 10 am, collecting food to then deliver to the Nakota food bank in Morley.
“That’s a food bank that often doesn’t get any attention in Cochrane, and it’s serving a massive population west of Cochrane and these are our neighbours,” she said.
A van will also be set up to accept non-perishables at the powwow at the SLS Centre in Cochrane starting at 1 pm Saturday.