2nd Annual Food Bank Street Challenge generates nearly 7,500 lbs of donations

January 27, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

The 2nd Annual Food Bank Street Challenge (FBSC) officially wrapped up last weekend and the numbers are in. Nearly 7,500 lbs of non-perishable food was collected and donated since the challenge kicked off in early October, with about half being kept in Orangeville.

Mono resident Jaylen Padayachee, 13, with the help of his dad Koven, created the challenge in November of 2020 when he realized the local food bank wasn’t receiving as many donations as normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While this year’s challenge didn’t raise as many donations as last year, which topped 30,000 lbs, organizers are still happy that the 7,500 lbs of food will go out to those who need it most.

“We didn’t hit nearly what we did last year,” said Koven. “We came up with two reasons though A) the novelty of it. For the first year, people were into it…But then also the fact that I think that kids’ sports were back, and with all their activities in the evening and stuff.”

Koven also noted that not everyone reported back to the FBSC Facebook Page to fill out a form that says how much food they collected, so he suscepts the total donation this year is higher than the 7,500 lbs figure.

The way the challenge works is participants drop off letters to every house on a designated street, letting the homeowner know that they’re doing a collection for the local food bank and will be coming by at a certain time to pick up any non-perishable they put out on their front porch.

The contactless pick up made the challenge a great activity for kids to be involved in during the pandemic, as it’s a safe way to get out, get some exercise, and support a great cause.

As for the challenge aspect of the fundraiser, once food is collected from a street, the person who collected it then gets to challenge three of their friends to do the same, keeping the momentum going.

Koven said the challenge is well received by a lot of homeowners, with about one in six donating, and a lot of the time leaving them thank-you letters.

The vast majority of people who participate in the challenge are youth and Koven told the Citizen the challenge has been a great learning opportunity for them.

“I think the message, the thread, and it really comes from the parents talking about it with their kids, is explaining the importance of giving back,” he said.

Koven also noted how the FBSC acts as an opportunity for kids to understand that not everyone in their community is able to afford groceries, and by participating in the challenge, they can make a positive impact on their neighbours.

He said it’s important for helping create community minded citizens, who see the value in giving back, and hopefully will carry that sense of community with them long term.

Koven’s message to parents is “make sure that your kids know the importance [of giving back], why they’re doing it, who they’re helping and how they’re helping. It’s important.”

This year, Jaylen and his sister Isabella collected almost 1,000 lbs of donations from five different streets in Orangeville.

Organizers of the challenge want to give a special thanks to the Dodd family for collecting 473 lbs of donations and the Burnside’s for collecting 524 lbs.

Koven said he’d like to give a special thanks to Mr. Baron’s class from Credit Meadows and Mr. Durk’s class from John F. Ross Collegiate Vocational Institute.

Looking ahead to next year, Koven said himself and some of the other parents who helped organize the challenge will be brainstorming ideas to promote the FBSC when it kicks off again around the fall.

The goal is to try to pump the numbers back up to what they were in the first year, when over 30,000 lbs of donations were collected, 17,000 lbs of which went to the Orangeville Food Bank.

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