Donations should last through winter, says WN Food Bank administrator
It was yet another record-breaking year for Franco-Cité’s ‘Une canne ça dépanne’ food drive. The students were out collecting food door to door on Wednesday, October 4th to then deliver it to the West Nipissing Food Bank the next day, via the now iconic “human chain” of students passing food from one to another. According to Yves Lafrenière, teacher at Franco-Cité and project organiser, the students amassed 21,500 lbs of food and over $2,500 cash for the local food bank, beating last year’s record of just over 21,000 lbs.
As tradition dictates, the food drive is always held just prior to Thanksgiving, as a gesture of sharing and goodwill, and the response is always impressive. “I would like to thank all of West Nipissing for answering the call once again,” Lafrenière expresses, noting that with inflation and bigger pressure on the food bank, this generosity is all the more significant this year.
Lafrenière has been the lead organiser of the project since its inception 23 years ago, and he attributes the success of the food drive to the community’s belief in supporting one another. “People have boxes of food already packed at their doors, they’re ready to welcome us, they want to help. The people in the community, they’re good people,” he says. Pamphlets are delivered to people’s doors in advance to remind them that the collection will be happening soon, and with the project having gone on for so many years, most people now expect it.
Lafrenière says that he and his students spent from 4 pm until 9 pm unloading all that food at the food bank. Kids from West Nipissing’s French Catholic primary schools also took part, collecting food in their neighbourhoods and attending Franco-Cité on Oct. 5 for the human chain. According to the Franco-Nord school board, students, staff, and families of La Résurrection, Saint-Joseph, Sainte-Marguerite-d’Youville and Christ-Roi elementary schools took part, and “it would have been inconceivable to achieve such a result without the community’s collaboration and support.”
Franco-Cité principal René Dubuc is thrilled with the effort and the spirit of giving instilled in his students. “We all play a very important role in society in the fight against food insecurity, and the “Une canne ça dépanne” project teaches students to care about their neighbour and, as responsible citizens, that they have a duty to support local organizations” he says “Giving back fosters happiness and a sense of gratitude. This project remains a tradition that students and staff look forward to participating in every year.”