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‘Ambitious’ becomes easy as Sarah’s food drive booms

Sarah Jordan

10-year-old Sarah, at right, hauled a lot of her 21,573 pounds of food for the Daily Bread Food Bank while filling boxes with fellow students at Tremblett’s Valu-Mart on Bayview, ground zero for the second year for Sarah.

Sarah Jordan is only 10 years old, but she’s hit the big time.

In her 5th annual food drive based in Leaside she almost doubled the “ambitious” goal in October of 12,000 pounds of donated food to 21,573 pounds for the Daily Bread Food Bank.

In the previous four years the food drive reached a total of 7,500 pounds.

A big part of the huge leap came from the first annual contest pitting her school in North Leaside, Northlea, against two schools in South Leaside, Bessborough and Rolph Road.

Northlea raised 4,761 pounds in food and online donations (each dollar was counted as one pound).

The two South Leaside schools combined for 4,096 pounds, in food and online donations.

But this North vs. South challenge was beaten by direct donations to Tremblett’s Valu-Mart, on Bayview, which became ground zero for the drive for the second year.

Food drop-offs were also made at Sarah’s home and at North Toronto Memorial Arena.

Food drop-offs, holiday hampers bought, online donations and a 1,610-pound food donation from Neal Brothers Foods came to 4,881 pounds.

Sarah explained on her blog (sarahsfooddrive.com) how she started the drive:

“One night during dinner, I told my mom that I was full, even though I still had lots of food left on my plate. My mom told me that there were people that lived five minutes away from us that didn’t have food for dinner and that we were so fortunate that we did.

“Minutes later, we heard a story on the radio talking about the Thanksgiving food drive for the Daily Bread Food Bank. They were in need of a lot more food and were asking people to donate. After hearing that, I told my mom that I wanted to do something to help, so I decided to start my own food drive.”

“She’s an amazing girl,” said Gail Nyberg, executive director of the Daily Bread Food Bank.

“For one young person to bring in over 21,000 pounds of food is a large percentage of the 400,000 (we need to raise).”

In her public thank-you letter, Sarah’s mother Lynda Debono said, “This campaign is so much bigger than a 10-year-old girl and her food drive. It is about reaching out to the greater community and inspiring kids of all ages to get involved, get informed and make a difference.

“It is rare to meet people as giving as Rob and Jessi Tremblett. They immediately embraced Sarah’s 4th annual food drive last year and when we approached them this year, their only request was to make it bigger and better than the year before.

“In addition to all their support, Rob and Jessi also donated 50 holiday hampers.”

Locallea also donated 50 hampers as did Patrick Rocca of Bosley Real Estate, who “was a huge cheerleader for the entire campaign,” she said.

“Sarah is an inspiration to us and as her parents we are so tremendously proud of her. She has inspired so many, including her little sister Claire, who wants to take on a bigger role next year.”

“Just wait until you see what Sarah has in store for next year,” says her father Mark.