Posts Tagged ‘Spuddy’

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…)

Supermarket Blitzers win GOLD in Potato Collection Event!

March 1, 2010

The results are in and they are fantastic!

Volunteers from nine local churches rallied together on February 20th at 12 different supermarkets to collect a combined total of 100,395 lbs of potatoes for the House of Friendship’s Annual Potato Blitz! 17,500 lbs of the potatoes were donated directly, while the other 82,895 lbs comes from the  $8,289.47 in cash donations that will be used to buy potatoes year-round at a fixed low-rate.

Calvary United, Calvin Presbyterian, Christ Lutheran, Doon Presbyterian, Kitchener East Presbyterian, Knox Waterloo, Parkminster United, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, and St. Louis Roman Catholic Church volunteers all spent their Saturday morning and afternoon at the entrances and exits of Food Basics Fairway Road, Waterloo Town Square’s Valu-Mart, Central Fresh Market, and various Sobeys, and Zehrs stores across KW.

Linda, Nicki, "Spuddy", Ed Ruppe, "Sweets" and John Neufeld. Missing: Chantelle

Some volunteers, like Ed Ruppe, his daughter, and his two granddaughters, made it a full day, family affair! Starting at 9:30 a.m, they stopped only for lunch, and were still going strong in their burlap sack dresses when “Spuddy” and “Sweet” came to visit them at Food Basics just before 3:00 p.m!

Elna Robertson spent the day at Sobeys Bridgeport with Parkminster United and told me in good humour, “Last year was my first year, and I didn’t think to have anyone around to cover a break or lunch. By two o’clock I was about ready to pass out.” Needless to say, she brought her husband of 51 years, Les, with her this time around, and planned for additional volunteers to arrive in intervals throughout the day. Other church groups, such as Calvin Presbyterian and St. Andrews Presbyterian, organized volunteer shifts from 9 a.m – 12p.m and 12 p.m – 3 p.m.

Elna and Les Robertson in their homemade Potato Blitz Tags

A small band of us led by “Spuddy” and “Sweet” were able to go around and see the volunteers hard at work at their respective locations. John Neufeld, Christine Rier, her son Colin, Michael Hackbusch, and myself, visited all but 1 of the 12 supermarkets, unfortunately arriving at Zehrs Pioneer Mall only minutes after the Doon Presbyterian volunteers had wrapped up for the day. Aside from this set back, we found those we visited in high spirits and unique get-ups. From green and white striped top hats, to handmade burlap vests (thank you Kingsdale Community Centre), to green plastic hats, and flowing burlap gowns, the Supermarket Blitzers made their mark and had many stories and smiles to share with us!

Samantha and Melanie at Zehrs Conestoga

We met veterans like Samantha- a grade eight student with three years experience and a fool-proof system: approach shoppers with potato bag already in hand, give a big smile and description of the cause, then place the potatoes into the obliging person’s shopping cart. Ta da, another donation secured!
How could anyone say no?

We also met Bob Schmidt and his team who were raking in the cash donations at the Northfield & Fisher-Hallman Sobeys, Ab Martin and company at Zehrs Glenridge, Barb “Captain” Chippier taking part in her 5th Blitz at Zehrs Stanley Park, and House of Friendship staff member extraordinaire, Shelley Holmes, with five other Knox Presbyterian volunteers in Valu-mart!

John Lambert as King Spud, and Doreen West peeking out from between the mascots.

Then there was King Spud himself, John Lambert, one of the Supermarket Blitz’s key coordinators, who has been volunteering, and wearing his royal attire, for the past 14 years. Customers of the Beechwood Zehrs were greeted with his tried and true: “Buy a bag of potatoes and we’ll gladly take them off your hands”.

So many volunteers helped at each location, and every one of them did a great job, at a hard job! Dave, from Calvin Presbyterian, confided in me that sometimes it’s tough asking strangers for cash donations or bags of potatoes: “Some people just walk by without even looking at you, you’re just another solicitor in their eyes and it’s hard to not take that personally.”
But, for every one person with their head down and eyes averted, there were half a dozen people willing to listen and/or donate whatever they could. In the end, volunteers would agree that the day was well worth it and a pleasure to be part of.

2,000lbs of potatoes collected before noon at Zehrs Beechwood

Steinmann Mennonite Church provided pick-up trucks and drivers to transport the 17, 500 lbs of potatoes to Steckle Heritage Homestead where they are now kindly being stored in an underground cellar.

Volunteer Driver, "Sweet" and Valerie Green, the Executive Director of Steckle Heritage Homestead

Great thanks goes out to Glenn Stewart for contacting and organizing with the churches and supermarket locations, John Lambert for also coordinating the event, Zehrs Markets, Sobeys, Valu-Mart, Food Basics, and Central Fresh Market and all the managers for allowing the temporary take over of their stores, Steinmann Mennonite for transporting the spuds, Steckle Heritage Homestead for providing storage space, the shoppers who donated at supermarkets across the region, and of course, thank you to all of the dedicated church volunteers who brought home the gold!

GO, SUPERMARKET BLITZERS, GO!

Record breaking Don Cameron Potato Night

February 16, 2010

The voice of the Kitchener Rangers made the call and Kitchener Rangers fans answered!

Tony Bender and volunteer Doug Sullivan

This year’s Don Cameron Potato Night, held on Tuesday January 26th, brought in a combined total of more than 52, 000 lbs of potatoes- the most ever collected through the event! The combination of potatoes, cash donations and a 2,000 lb potato donation from Loblaw Companies Ltd. represents just over 30% of this year’s goal of 170, 000 lbs of potatoes! What a wonderful way to kick-off House of Friendships 15th Annual Potato Blitz!

Rangers Fan and Lori

“We asked Rangers fans to help feed our neighbours in need at an especially difficult time for many, and they responded with their hearts and their wallets…”
-Don Cameron

“…Rangers fans were filling the potato bins faster than we could empty them”
-Tony Bender, HoF Community Services Director

All this was made possible because of the Kitchener Rangers and their fans, Loblaw, media sponsors, House of Friendship’s volunteer crew and of course, Don Cameron.  As John Neufeld, our Executive Director, put it: “This truly was a team effort, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results.”Thank you!

The Potato Night potatoes arrived at the Emergency Food Hamper program  on January 27th, and have been helping to feed local families in need of food assistance over the past few weeks.

Again, thank you everyone for your compassion, generosity, and amazing energy! If you were there,please share your experience. We’d love to hear from you just leave a comment below!

To learn more about the February Potato Blitz, or to get involved, please visit http://www.houseoffriendship.org or contact either Tony Bender or Christine Rier at 519-742-8327.

Give me a P-O-T-A-T-O! Potato!!!

February 9, 2010

It is officially Potato Season! The annual February Potato Blitz is here and there’s no looking back. This little month is actually one of the most important of the year- it has the weight of 170, 000 lbs of potatoes riding on its shoulders! That’s because House of Friendship will use over 34 truck loads full of potatoes in its 18 programs this year, and we are hoping to collect all of it (cross your fingers) through the events being held this month.  

Not only will the potatoes collected during the Potato Blitz be used up well before they spoil (the Emergency Food Hamper program distributed 36,425 lbs of potatoes in the first three months of 2009 alone), but we will also be able to purchase potatoes year-round with the cash donations received. Thanks to a special partnership with a local farm we are able to purchase potatoes at a fixed low rate. This allows, for example, five dollars to be stretched to provide approximately 10 people with 5lbs of potatoes each.:)

I, myself, am looking forward to this year’s Potato Blitz, especially since it is my first! I’ve been the Social Service Intern since May and I’ve heard all about the February program from Tony and Christine, but it’s finally time for me to experience it first hand!

So far, they haven’t wasted any time with my initiation:  

 

Yup, that’s me in the bow tie…