Food Bank Street Challenge returns for spring

April 2, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

A 13-year-old boy of Mono is again working to generate donations for food banks locally and across Canada. 

Jaylen Padaychee’s Food Bank Street Challenge (FBSC) is back for the spring, kicking off next week.

Organizers have their eyes set on generating 300,000 lbs of non-perishable food donations nation-wide, which is roughly 10 times what was collected last year. 

Leading up to Christmas, Jaylen helped to generate a little over 32,000 lbs of donations in total through FBSC and Orangeville Food Bank received 17,000 lbs. The challenge is youth led, and over 56 families participated in the winter, collecting food from 80 streets in 12 different cities.

Now Jaylen, with the help of his dad, Koven Padaychee, is making the FBSC a bi-annual event due to its success and how well it was received in the community.

“It really caught fire here,” said Koven. “From a big picture, not only are we helping people who are struggling from hunger and homelessness at this time, but also, you’re teaching these kids a valuable lesson in giving back and what it means to be an active citizen in our community, our country.

“Hopefully, that’s a lifelong lesson that they take on. As they get older, they continue to do these things where you’re giving back and, and spending time and energy helping other people,” he added.

The challenge works by dropping a letter off to all the houses on a certain street, notifying the residents that you’ll be stopping by at a designated date/time to collect non-perishable food items. The letter asks that they leave the donations on their front porch so the collection is contactless and there’s no risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Participants then challenge their friends to get involved, which helps to spread the challenge into different communities.

The streets that had collections done are tracked on the “Food Bank Street Challenge” Facebook page and local donations are dropped off at the Orangeville Food Bank where they are weighed.

The challenge runs until June 1, but those looking to do a good deed in their community can do this form of collection year-round.

“I think the big thing, why people really caught on was because it’s kids doing it. The kids organize the letter, the kids went and handed it out, the kids went and collected the food. There was guidance from parents, but the kids really took on the initiative and bought into the whole event, which is what made it really successful in the first place,” said Koven.

Jaylen collected from seven streets last year and said he plans to up that number to 10 during the spring challenge.  

“We’re going to try and hit some streets that never experienced it yet,” said Koven.

The goal of the spring challenge is in part, to help food banks who generally see less donations this time of year, as 70 per cent of all non-perishables come during the winter months, leading into Christmas.

“We thought, well, why don’t we try to fill that void a bit, so that’s our goal,” noted Koven.

Going forward, he said the FBSC organizers are going to see if they can get sponsorships from sports groups or other organizations in the community.

This year, Feed Ontario is helping to promote FBSC, helping to get the word out across the province.

Once Jaylen turns 14, he said he plans on volunteering at the Orangeville Food Bank, continuing to give back to the community.

To learn more about the challenge, visit:                        

Jaylen Padaychee, creator of the Food Bank Street Challenge, stands outside of the Orangeville Food Bank, which he will be helping to generate donations for over the next two months. Through the holiday season last year, he helped to generate roughly 17,000 lbs of donations for the local food bank and over 32,000 lbs nation-wide.


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