An Airdrie-based group’s annual fundraiser and food drive that takes place during Lent has raised more than $18,000 in food donations for the Airdrie Food Bank (AFB).
“The response we got from the community, in particular the schools, was outstanding,” said event chair and Airdrie Knights of Columbus Council 8045 (AKCC) member Wayne MacGillivary. “This event reaches out to the whole community to not only have people contribute, but to support people in need as well.”
The fundraiser, which ran from Feb. 17 until April 4, has been going on in Airdrie for five years. Throughout that time, MacGillivary said AKCC has raised nearly 40,000 pounds of food for the local food bank, the equivalent of $100,000 in food donations.
“We are kind of more interested in this year because the schools involved did such an amazing job this year,” he said.
This year, the event was a collaboration between AKCC and St. Paul’s Parish, along with four local Catholic schools. The dollar equivalent raised this year was $18,615.40.
As part of the campaign, Our Lady Queen of Peace School conducted a program titled Change for Change, which encouraged students to contribute loose change to the AFB. They collectively raised $1,600.
St. Martin de Porres High School’s Grade 9 religious studies classes conducted Cans for the Food Bank, a program through which students collected recyclable cans. They were able to donate $1,507.95, while St Veronica donated the dollar equivalent of $5,095.45 to the food bank.
Students also provided hand sanitizer along with inspiring notes to food bank recipients. Good Shepherd School was also successful in donating food and cash donations equivalent to $2,644.75.
“I am so proud of the initiatives that they took,” MacGillivary said. “All of the schools did such an amazing job. I think the schools having a friendly competition helped as well.”
According to MacGillivary, the event was especially important this year, considering everything people and local organizations are going through with regard to the pandemic.
“This gets everyone in the community involved,” he said. “This year in particular, I know the AFB wasn’t able to do some of their major fundraisers, so the contribution it is receiving from the AKCC, St. Paul’s Parish and the schools was extremely important.”
The entire event during Lent has MacGillivary feeling very positive. He said although he didn’t know what to expect due to the pandemic, he was happy with the result.
It was also successful enough for the AKCC to submit the program to the supreme office in the U.S., which will in turn contribute $500. That money, according to MacGillivary said, will be awarded to the school that raised the most to help support a breakfast program for students.