Orangeville District Secondary School collecting non-perishable donations for food drive

September 30, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By August Bettinelli

Orangeville District Secondary School’s (ODSS) leadership class is independently running a food drive to support the local food bank.

The food drive started last month and runs until Thanksgiving (October 11th). So far, 2,000lbs of food has been collected, getting the students almost halfway to their goal of 4500lbs, which is what was collected last year.

Non-perishable food items can be dropped off to collection boxes around ODSS, as well as several boxes located around Orangeville, at Townline Fish and Chips, Tony Rose Arena, The Orangeville Citizen, Zehrs, MacMaster Buick GMC, and the Caledon Fire Station 301 (19630, Main Street Caledon).

“The pandemic is hugely affecting those in need and that was actually why we started with this initiative last year,” said Corin Mercey, who teaches the leadership class at ODSS, and noted that the negative financial impact from COVID-19 is what motivated the class to start the food drive in 2020.

The class is looking for non-perishable items such as canned pasta, pasta sauce, canned stews/chili, size 5 and 6 diapers, baby food, fruit cups/canned fruit, and toothbrushes

Many have felt the social impacts of the pandemic, and the restrictions in place have made forming connections difficult. The Leadership classes’ big idea is “Connection is the catalyst of change”, and they were determined to find a way to benefit their community, as well as the student body. 

Last year, they found a “creative way” around limitations that allows students to give back to their community, utilizing resources available, such as social media, to maintain interrelatedness. The response they received was significant: generating 4500lbs from the initiative last year and gaining a following on social media of around half the student body.

“We are just putting connections to action basically, and our biggest goal is to try and create a connection within the school,” said Mercey. “We wanted some sort of way to give back to the community and the students at ODSS, because I think we don’t really realize that a lot of students and their families make use of the food bank too.”

In 2020, local youth Jaylen Padayachee created the Food Drive Street Challenge, which allowed himself and others who participated in the challenge to assist the Orangeville Food Bank with donations during their time of need.

The challenge was in alignment with COVID-19 restrictions, as it was contactless. Those who collected food for the challenge would drop off a letter to all the houses on a certain street, asking them to put food on their front porch for a designated time, before coming by to collect it. After that, the kid who collected the donations would challenge one of his friends or family members to do the same, which helped it spread across Canada and into other countries.

In total, over 30,000lbs of donations were raised in 2020.

The leadership class participated around Christmas last year, and were quite successful with the 4,500lbs of donations they collected, prompting them to engage again this year.

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