Swimming in a sea of potatoes

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At the beginning of each year we rest briefly, celebrate the past year, take a deep breath and try and catch up with our many volunteers who are sprinting ahead of us, leading the way and talking with our community about something very simple, yet very important.

What is that?

Potatoes.

A tangible, staple food, potatoes are the theme of a lot of what House of Friendship does each January and February.  It’s the time of the Potato Blitz, and potatoes serve as a focal point for a lot of cooperation and hard work, much like Turkeys and Christmas Hampers are, during November and December.

Someone standing in the lineup waiting for an Emergency Food Hamper will need potatoes.  A resident of the Men’s Hostel, or our residential addiction treatment programs will look forward to them as a part of the meals that staff prepare.  Potatoes are a symbol of the many food needs that we meet as we walk with people through their moment of crisis.

How does the Blitz succeed?  With a great community.  Nothing says this more than the Don Cameron Potato Night (previous blog coverage here and here).

For fifteen years Don Cameron, a.k.a. the voice of the Kitchener Rangers, has led the call to help feed our neighbours in need, as the ‘Coach’ of ‘Team Blitz’ for House of Friendship’s  annual February Potato Blitz.  The Potato Blitz aims to collect enough potatoes to provide food assistance for an entire year. This year, Team Blitz announced a new, higher goal of 200,000 pounds of potatoes!

Are you attending the game tonight?  Bring a bag of spuds or a cash donation and make a difference to someone in your community.

To help get things started, Zehrs Markets was pleased to present a cheque for $5,000 to House of Friendship in honour of the 15th annual Don Cameron Potato Night. In addition, Zehrs Markets will donate an amount of potatoes equivalent to the total number of potatoes brought to the game by Rangers fans, and local Zehrs Markets managers will be on hand this Friday evening to help collect potato donations at the doors of the Aud.

“We’re delighted to honour Don Cameron in this way and to be a part of Don Cameron Potato Night. Fighting hunger is a priority for Zehrs markets,” explained Derrick Pittman, on behalf of Zehrs Markets, “And to be able to honour Don in Kitchener, where the first Zehrs Markets store opened is extra-special for us. It’s another way of us saying ‘Thank you’ to a community that has always supported us.”

But Potato Blitz doesn’t begin and end with Don Cameron Potato night.   All throughout the rest of January and February there are many ways that you can pitch in.  A bag of potatoes may not seem like a lot, but every last spud will feed someone – on it’s own, mashed, in a casserole or a soup.

You can help by giving potatoes directly to the House of Friendship (here or here) or any non-perishable food item to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region via your local grocery store donation bin.   Keep an eye out on February 11th if you are out grocery shopping for House of Friendship Board Members and volunteers.  Chances are good that a team of volunteers will be in the store that day looking for you to help  us to move closer towards our goal of 200,000 pounds of potatoes.  Our volunteers have enrolled the assistance of 26 local grocery stores to get the word out and help collect donations for the Blitz.

Interested in taking the extra step and pitching in a little more?  We need your help volunteering on February 11th (contact Jenn at 519-742-8327 for more info).

In the words of long time volunteer Doug:

“Potatoes are a basic food for so many – what better product to collect to show this. The spud is not glamorous or pretty, but beautiful in that is satisfies a basic human need – food.”

“The Blitz is our opportunity to show we care !  You will meet other like-minded individuals who also believe in helping the less fortunate. There is a lot of team spirit and a sense of community – you and others will feel good on what you’ve done !”

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One Response to “Swimming in a sea of potatoes”

  1. Everybody eats…. potato soup! | Hofemergencyfoodassistance's Blog Says:

    […] One thing that you may find to be a “food hamper staple” is bacon.  It is not unusual, for us to only be able to provide some bacon for single households.  Another staple that we have are potatoes.  In fact, we spend a lot of time each February, making sure we have enough to last the entire year. […]

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