Students at Fort Frances High School are teaming up with Sunset Country Ford to help those in need.
During the month of October, the students and Ford staff will be collecting non-perishable food items for the “WE Scare Hunger” campaign.
Sunset Country Ford general manager Terry Mueller said the drive is a true collaborative process towards helping out those in need around the district.
“What we do for the month of October is have the F-150 in the showroom, and customers and people from the town are welcome to come and make a contribution of a non-perishable good,” Mueller explained.
“[The high school students] do a food drive on Halloween night—which probably contributes about 80 percent of the donations—and then each year we select from the local area two food banks to contribute to.”
Teacher Sarah Arpin handles the food drive at the high school's end, and noted that while students can make contributions of their own during the month, they work extra hard on Halloween night.
“With the students, we set up boxes,” Arpin explained.
“The Grade 7 and 8 students, they will collect food in their classrooms and then we have a bin that will be in the atrium to collect food there as well, and then on Halloween night we do the 'Trunk-or-Treat.'”
Arpin said that students will put a vehicle in at the Fort Frances Public Library's annual event in order to collect more donations, as well as to provide some candy for the kids who attend.
But for those who are interested in donating some items but can't make it to any of the donation points, keep an eye out for some familiar colours at your door on Halloween night.
“They do try to go door-to-door,” Arpin said.
"The students will show up, usually wearing their Muskie gear. I get them to wear something so that people can maybe recognize that they are high school students and that they're not there to trick-or-treat but to get the canned goods instead.
“In the past we've had a big enough group of students that have just gone door-to-door and that we've been able to pretty much cover most of the town limit,” noted Arpin.
Arpin said that those students who drive will also serve as collectors for those going door to door, so they can drop off the heavier items they've had donated throughout the night. Though it's too early to tell how many students will be involved for this year's event, Arpin noted that in the past she's had as many as 30 students volunteer.
Mueller explained that Sunset Country Ford has been running the drive “for a number of years,” and help from the high school and the town itself makes the food drive a success.
“By ourselves, we pretty much can level off the box of the F-150,” Mueller said.
“With the donations from the high school, we have that thing full, probably two pickup trucks or two-and-a-half full of food, so it's a substantial donation. We have a very good community in Fort Frances, extremely giving and I just think that the WE Foundation is very important and they do so many good things in the world today. We're proud to be a part of it and team up with them.”
The Ford dealership also organizes a donation day at Safeway in the third week of October to provide shoppers and the community with another easy way to donate.
Once the donations have all come in and Halloween is in the rear-view mirror, the students from the high school truck all of the donations over to the dealership, where the business then takes over the final distribution of the collected items.
Arpin said they make an effort to ensure the donations benefit the local community as much as possible.
“Our big push is a lot with the community this year,” she said.
“Even our 'Walk For Water,' because 'Walk for Water' is another WE Day campaign, we're trying to keep it closer to our communities.”
Arpin said it's encouraging that the students support WE Charity initiatives, and she noted that, if everything goes to plan, the day before the WE Scare Hunger drive, some students will be involved with another WE event.
“We've tried to participate with a lot of the WE Day initiatives, there's a few throughout the school year and this one's also really important because we go to WE Day Manitoba,” she explained.
"This year, it actually is Oct. 30. So we will be in Winnipeg the day before WE Scare Hunger launches, and then we will come home for it. It's a wide range of ages, so it's a great way for our students to get excited and to want to do more to get going and that they can bring that back to the community to try to help out.
“I just really appreciate them doing a lot of the WE Day initiatives or the WE Day campaigns,” Arpin continued.
“It's good to see that this is one that we can get so many students involved in.”