Frosty temperatures didn’t slow down the hundreds of volunteers who went door-to-door to collect thousands of donations Wednesday during the annual 10,000 Tonight food drive.
The event, a collaboration between both local high schools, rounded up approximately 12,500 non-perishable items for the Salvation Army food bank, roughly the same amount collected a year ago.
Natalie Puls was part of a group of six students who hustled to stay warm while stopping in at 25 homes along Atkinson Street as the temperature hovered around – 8 C.
“It was a little cold, but we were moving so it wasn’t too bad,” said Puls, a Grade 12 student at Princess Margaret Secondary School, where the donations were sorted and crated to prepare them for delivery to the Salvation Army.
Puls estimated she received donations from half to two-thirds of the homes on her route and was happy to lug heavy bags to a waiting vehicle.
“I think it’s good to be involved with your community, just helping out the people that need help,” she said.
Stationed inside the school was Michael Poon, one of about a dozen young men who helped ferry goods from vehicles to the sorting station.
“It’s just a nice thing to do,” said the Grade 11 student. “You have all this free time, you might as well do something good.”
Among the sorters was Jaime Peters, who was helping out for the third straight year.
“It’s fun. It’s for a good cause. It’s a good way to participate in the community,” said Peters, also in Grade 11.
“It feels great,” she continued, in particular knowing they’ve helped kids “who don’t have the privilege of going home after school and having whatever they want to eat.”
Taking it all in for the first time was Joey Cyr, the new community services supervisor at the Salvation Army in Penticton.
“I’m really impressed with the kids and how they’re just getting it done. They really have a system and they’re all working so well together,” he said.
“It’s great to see them be such a good part of our community.”
Cyr said anyone who still wishes to give to the food bank can help most by donating cash or canned fruit and vegetables, but said the items collected through 10,000 Tonight should help keep the staples in stock until March.