Campaign For Food

A Toronto girl who likes to help people had an idea and because of it, Ontario’s landlords will be knocking on the doors of 100,000 rental units for three hours tonight.

They’ll be looking for 225,000 kilograms of food to help food banks stock their shelves for the spring rush.

“I just wanted to help people,” Beverlee Hoy, 11, said in an interview.  “I think everyone should have food on their table all the time and every day.”

Tonight’s mammoth effort is the second time that consultant Bonnie Hoy, the Fair Rental Policy Organization, the Greater Toronto Apartment Association and other rental-unit providers in the province have combined to help food bank shore up their dwindling supplies.

Hoy is the organizer, co-ordinator and developer of the door-to-door drive, which was held once before, in November, 2002.

But the campaign was the brainchild of her daughter Beverlee, who was 9 years old two years ago when firefighters were having a food drive on the family’s street

“She said: ‘There are only 23 homes on the street.  They would do a lot better if they did an apartment building.’ “ her mother said.

Hoy said when she pointed out that collecting in apartment buildings would require permission from individual landlords, her daughter had a solution for that too.

“She said: ‘You organize it.’”

So Hoy did and pulled in the rental groups for whom she worked as a public-relations and marketing consultant.

Beverlee now works alongside her mother and other volunteers as they canvass residents to ensure they know when to have their food donations ready.

Utilia Amaral, communications director for the Fair Rental Policy Organization, which represents building owners and managers across the province are participating.  Between 5,000 and 10,000 volunteers will collect donations from staff of property management companies and from among tenants.

In November, 2002, the first time the drive was held, the groups’ objective was to collect 34,000 kilograms of food.  They managed to almost double that amount.

Amaral said the food collection in any area will go to the local food bank.  Transport for the food between apartment buildings and food banks will be provided by Home Depot, Grocery Gateway and the Toronto Star.

Residents in participating buildings have been notified that volunteers will be canvassing for food today between 6 and 9 p.m.

Food banks encourage donations of nutritious, non-perishable items, such as powdered and boxed milk, baby formula, flour, rice, dry pasta, granola bars and other healthy snacks, tuna, fruit juice (apple, grape and orange), cereal, canned fish and meat, canned fruit, canned vegetables, dry or canned beans (kidney beans, black beans, lentils) and peanut butter.

Other needed items include toilet paper, toothpaste, shampoo and diapers.