Neighbors in Grimsby, Ontario, are now used to a different kind of door-to-door request when the calendar turns to October 31.
Teens, families, and a crew of adult volunteers start at Mountainview Christian Reformed Church and go looking for canned goods instead of candy as part of a food drive for the Grimsby Benevolent Fund food bank.
Rick Roeda, Mountainview CRC’s youth pastor, sees the event as a unifying experience for many organizations to work together. “It’s grown to be multi-church and multi-school,” he said, “and now it’s become a springboard for the next group to do it.”
Great Lakes Christian High School, in the neighboring town of Beamsville, implemented its own food drive this year. Starting at a central location, teens head out with one of many printed routes, fill their driver’s car, and then return to unload and pick up a new route.
For 17-year-old Chantal, participating in her fourth food drive, the event makes it easier to approach people for donations. “I’ve gone to a neighborhood that’s been doing it a lot and they say, ‘We’ve got it set aside for you’; but for some people, you have to explain it, so you can tell it’s expanding,” she said.
Christina and Jeremy, two 17-year olds from Grimsby Secondary School, participated with their school community action group Me to We. “Seeing how much food there is at the end of the night is really amazing. It’s hard to imagine how far that can go,” Christina said.
This year’s collection brought in 5,000 pounds of food for the benevolent fund and 1,200 pounds for the Beamsville group’s food bank. While sharing with others is the main goal, the teens enjoy the evening, sometimes competing for the most food collected.
“It’s fun because we’re with all our friends,” said 16-year-old Alexandra. “We still get to go out, but help someone at the same time.”