It’s potato time!

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If you’re familiar with the many events that occur during the year at House of Friendship, you will know that December is associated with Christmas Hampers, and February is marked by potatoes! Yes, with February now upon us, Spuddy and Sweet Potato have been dug up and the February Potato Blitz is effectively underway.

The February Potato Blitz began as a fundraiser to help supplement the vast amount of potatoes that House of Friendship—in all its 18 programs—uses over the course of a year. Over time, this campaign has been refined and perfected, and now consists of three major events: The Don Cameron Potato Night, the Supermarket Blitz and the Community Potato Lunch. None of these events would be complete without an appearance from either Spuddy or Sweet Potato, the life-size potato heads who have become public faces of this campaign.

So Spuddy is busy this month! One of the abovementioned events is already behind us, thus setting in motion this year’s Potato Blitz and marking it for success. But before we get caught up in the flurry of activity that is yet to come, let me first tell you about the Don Cameron night, and what made it such an encouraging start to a month we know will be filled with potato frenzy.

Proof that Spuddy and Sweet Potato have resurfaced. The two enjoy a quiet moment at the Kitchener Auditorium, just before the venue was filled with Rangers fans on the Don Cameron Potato Night.

Who is Don Cameron, anyway?

If you’re a fan of the OHL, and the Kitchener Rangers in particular, Don Cameron’s voice should be a familiar one. That’s because this play-by-play sports announcer has been the voice of the Rangers for over thirty years. Born in Summerside PEI, Don Cameron has an affinity for the potato. Since moving to Kitchener-Waterloo, he has become a wonderful supporter of and partner to the House of Friendship. The Don Cameron Potato Night is evidence of this, and we can think of no one better suited to promote House of Friendship and encourage Rangers fans to donate potatoes than him!

Don Cameron (plaid hat) alongside some of the other important faces of Team Blitz.

Don Cameron Night, 2011

In the week leading up the hockey game, Team Blitz gathered to promote and prepare for the evening. Although Don Cameron acts as the namesake behind the event, there are many others who contribute to its success. Another reason for this event was to announce a new member of the team. This year Zehrs Markets Stores offered to match all of the potato donations that were made during the night! They join Loblaws, who contributes 2,000 lbs of potatoes every year, in their generosity. You can see the footage from this gathering, and other information on the importance of the February Potato Blitz, on our YouTube channel here.

Our local news station, CTV, captured the assembly of all of these contributors, using the coverage to remind our community to donate potatoes! Included in Team Blitz are representatives from Zehrs Markets Stores and House of Friendship, radio announcers Don Cameron and Mike Farwell, Rangers players and of course, Spuddy.

'King Spud,' otherwise known as John is a key volunteer who has been part of the Potato Blitz since its humble beginnings. Here he is joined by Christine and representatives from Zehrs Markets Stores.

Rangers goalie, Brandon Maxwell, makes a killer save.

On January 28th, it was finally game time. By 6 o’clock, fans were already arriving for the 7:30 game and the potato collection began!

King Spud towers over a soon-to-be overflowing Zehrs grocery cart full of potatoes! By the end of the evening, and many carts later, 4,700 lbs of potatoes were collected. Thank you Rangers fans!

Although we encourage donations of real bags of potatoes, we do not discourage monetary contributions, which also go toward the purchase of potatoes! Here Shelley greets a Rangers fan as she empties her spare change. This year, all that spare change amounted to $6,422 which can buy over 40,000 lbs of potatoes!

Corey from Zehrs Markets Stores stands proudly in front of his grocery cart, knowing that they would be matching every bag of potatoes that filled the auditorium that night. This cart is but a few pounds in comparison to the 4,700 lbs that they are contributing!

We are astounded by these numbers, and look forward to seeing what the rest of the February Potato Blitz holds. The potatoes collected two Fridays ago are already being used at the Emergency Food Hamper Program, and another shipment is on the way! Stay tuned for more about this and other aspects of February’s potato frenzy, including the Supermarket Blitz that occurs this Saturday. The House of Friendship website is up to date, with information about the 17 grocery stores participating and where volunteers will be collecting potato donations. Have you bought your bag of potatoes yet?

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One Response to “It’s potato time!”

  1. In praise of Potatoes! « Hofemergencyfoodassistance's Blog Says:

    […] year Allison is in the heat of the action attending all the various blitz events such as the Don Cameron Potato night and the Supermarket Blitz. But the excitement with potatoes doesn’t end at these two events! […]

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