Posts Tagged ‘potato blitz’

Where Will You Go, If You Walk With Others In Our Community?

November 28, 2014

“House Of Friendship remains committed to working with our community and walking with our most vulnerable members to ensure we pursue long-term solutions to homelessness, poverty, addictions, and mental health.”

John Neufeld, HOF Executive Director


Welcome to my walk with House of Friendship, my name is Marie Morneau.

My walk started some 13 years ago when my daughter Rosemarie started to volunteer at the Kingsdale Community Centre. Back then we were in portables, not the big beautiful building we have now!

Six years ago my husband Denis and I started to help by volunteering at Kingsdale, on Wednesdays. Denis drives the van to the Food Bank and brings back a load of food to Kingsdale, where we repack it and put it away. On Thursday we take that food and set it up for distribution between 1:30 and 3pm for people residing in the Kingsdale area. (more…)

Kartoffel-Blitz!

February 17, 2012

Potato Blitz mascot Spuddy enjoys a photo op at your local FreshCo

The German word blitz has a lot of different meanings.  What exactly is a potato blitz?  Is it some sort of food? Are they going to be falling from the sky?

Well, you don’t have to worry about getting a helmet. And on the bright side, it will involve eating – but I’ll get to that in a little bit.  For us at House of Friendship, blitz means a short, focused effort.  As you may already know, the  Potato Blitz is a one month push to collect as many potatoes as we can so that we can share with the people who turn to us for help.  With me so far?

In just 15 days (between Don Cameron Potato Night and this last Saturday) many, many people have stepped up, pitched in and shared a gift with us:  a gift of potatoes, some kind words of support and a lot of smiles!

I’ve written about Don Cameron Potato Night already.  Last Saturday, it was the second major blitz event, House of Friendship’s annual Supermarket Blitz.  The Supermarket Blitz is a one day community wide effort, where volunteers, staff, friends and family visit local grocery stores and ask their neighbours for some potatoes to help the less fortunate members of our community.  What a day!

In the space of a few hours we received over 22 skids of potatoes from shoppers at 26 different stores across the region!  When combined with the financial donations that were made as well, we collected the equivalent of 102,000 pounds of potatoes!  When we add that to the donations we accepted at Don Cameron Potato night we are only 12,000 pounds away from our goal of 200,000 pound goal.

House of Friendship staff and volunteers take a break in front of some of the 22 skids that were collected during the annual Supermarket Blitz

What’s left now?  We are always accepting donations of more potatoes and other food items.  More info on how you can help here. Every single spud will make a difference to the people we serve, who, are coming to us in record numbers.  This last January was the busiest month in the history of the emergency food hamper program, with 3491 hampers going out our doors to fill empty kitchen cupboards in Kitchener and Waterloo.

Each potato and dollar that is donated this month will help us put food on families tables for most of the coming year. Thanks to Jay West, a local food retailer in St. Jacobs, we will be able to store the spuds in the right conditions so they are still perfect when we need them in the coming months.

Are you planning on attending the community potato lunch next Friday?  It will be between 12 and 1pm, Friday February 24th at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Kitchener.  Last years lunch (post here) was a huge success and you can look forward to more great company, and the second (critically acclaimed) soup idol contest where local’s try and win the favour of the judges with their best potato soup recipe.  This year we expect some serious competition. (Do you think your soup recipe is a winner?  We’re still looking for people to compete – you can contact Jenn at 519-742-8327 for more info.)

Don Cameron gets results

February 3, 2012

Volunteers and Kitchener Waterloo can move mountains.  Mountains of potatoes that is! How do we know this?  Well, because of the Don Cameron Potato Night of course!

It was, as usual, a record breaking event!  Rangers fans did it again, bringing in 4,800 lbs of potatoes and giving $6,394 in cash donations.  Thanks to a special purchasing agreement with a local supplier we are able to purchase potatoes at an average rate of 15 cents per pound, which means that Rangers fans alone raised the equivalent of 47,425 pounds of spuds, matching last year’s record effort!

Volunteering at the night, Colin shared with me afterwords, “I was excited to see the level of community support House of Friendship has.  There are so many areas of the community we rely on for support and the folks coming to the game represent another one of those corners. It was just amazing to see how many folks do bring out potatoes.”

But there’s more good news.  Zehrs markets donated $5,000 and another 4,500 lbs of potatoes to Don Cameron Potato Night for a total contribution of 37,833 pounds of potatoes.  This means that in one very special evening, Don Cameron Potato Night raised the equivalent of more than 85,000 pounds of potatoes! (more…)

Swimming in a sea of potatoes

January 27, 2012

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.

(more…)

The side of potatoes you haven’t seen… and the rising cost of food

May 20, 2011

Annually House of Friendship utilizes well over 220 000 pounds of potatoes within all of our programs. Therefore a successful Potato Blitz campaign is important for many different programs, patrons and services. You may remember some of the stories Allison shared from various events of the Potato Blitz back in February, but don’t worry – I’m not here to repeat those. Instead I’m going to shine a new light on potatoes. We’ve talked about the nutrition of potatoes and how valuable potatoes are to the diets of our patrons, but we haven’t talked about the cost of potatoes. The cost of potatoes has a significant impact on the fundraising efforts of our Potato Blitz drive each February – and thus provides a glimpse at the side of potatoes we haven’t shown you yet! (more…)

It’s Time to Celebrate!

March 10, 2011

It seemed like we were just wrapping up Christmas Hampers when the Potato Blitz hit. Now, it too is over. Friday, February 25, we hosted the Community Potato Lunch at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and officially wrapped up a month of potato frenzy. This event, like all the events in this year’s Blitz, was a roaring success! You helped us raise another $3,100 so that we can purchase another 20,000 lbs of potatoes. This brings our grand total to 183,000 lbs of potatoes, which is 13,000 lbs above the campaign goal! (more…)

A Spud-Filled Warehouse

March 7, 2011

Below are some photos from the warehouse at various points since the Potato Blitz began. It seems like the abundance of potatoes in the Food Hampers’ warehouse is never-ending!

A skid of potatoes after the Don Cameron Night.

Full cardboard bins of potatoes after the Supermarket Blitz.

A few days later, the cardboard bins have been restocked with more potatoes.

Those mountains of potatoes are, of course, already being used. A few days ago, as a patron was filling out the checklist of food that he wanted in his hamper, he paused to ask me a question. With his finger resting on the picture of potatoes, he said, “I have been craving my homemade potato fries. Do you have potatoes today?” (more…)

The Adventures of Spuddy: A Day at the Supermarkets

February 14, 2011

Spuddy sports his trademark smile, overwhelmed by excitement at the beginning of the Supermarket Blitz day.

On Saturday morning, with a fresh layer of snow on the ground, Spuddy and Sweet Potato set out to visit all 17 of the grocery stores participating in this year’s Supermarket Blitz. It was no small task. Never before have so many supermarkets or volunteers been involved! While the results are not quite in, one thing is certain: We have a dedicated and compassionate community to be thankful for. (more…)

It’s potato time!

February 11, 2011

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. (more…)

A Glimpse at 2009 Food Donations

September 21, 2010

Tracking the weight of food donations is another statistic that our program calculates each day and year, along with other statistics such as the Hunger Count, and how many hampers we do in a single day. In order to keep the records of food donations accurate the staff at our program are required to give this task a significant amount of attention throughout the whole day, as we can’t predict when a donation will arrive. Therefore we are required to stay on our toes because in a typical day our program will receive two or more donations at any point, whether it’s a program driver coming back with something from a local farm or a community member casually stopping by with a box of canned soup. (more…)