Students and staff at Delview Secondary are hard at work preparing for Thanks 4 Giving, the school’s massive annual food drive, but this year’s event will look quite different from previous ones.
The one-night event, started by teachers Ron McNeill, Barb Woodford and Sandy Ferguson in 1992 under the name “Ten-in-One” (10,000 items collected in one night), typically sees hundreds of students and parents, and the school’s entire staff, come together to collect thousands of non-perishable food items — as well as recyclables and cash donations — from across North Delta, all to benefit Deltassist and the Surrey Food Bank.
Thanks 4 Giving (T4G for short) usually has the atmosphere of a block party, with excited conversations overlapping and intertwining with the upbeat music blaring from the gym. Teachers, parents, kids, community leaders and volunteers move about the school with purpose and passion, a smile on each and every face.
But this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event is being pared down and transformed. Gone is the big party and army of volunteers, but the passion that has kept the event going and made it a central part of life at the school remains.
|Delview Thanks4Giving committee members Alexa Liptak (left) and Amanda Quibing stand with the donation box outside the school’s front entrance. (James Smith photo)|
“[T4G] has been a real Delview tradition for 28 years now, and every year a lot of kids get really excited to help out because it’s something that the school can do together to help out people in our community, especially because we’re such a little school and we can make such a big difference,” T4G committee member Alexa Liptak said.
This year’s Thanks 4 Giving will be a drive-thru food drive in the school’s main parking lot, with four lanes where people can drop off non-perishable food items, plus one lane for cash donations and another for dropping off recyclables.
“Instead of going door-to-door, we’ll be asking people to come to us,” Liptak said.
About 30 T4G committee members are helping to organize this year’s food drive and will be staffing the event on the night of. While this year’s T4G committee is bigger than usual, all the changes this year has meant quite the learning curve for all involved.
“There’s a lot of figuring things out as we go along since we have never done this before. So it’s been very new and different,” committee member Amanda Quibing said.
COVID-19 restrictions limit the number of volunteers at the event to 50, about a tenth of what they usually get to help collect, sort, count and box all the donated items.
“We’ve never had the lanes system before so we have to figure out how we’re going to get the cans from the cars into the school, and then ultimately to the food bank. And we need to figure out how to set up the lanes in general and how to advertise to get people to come here, because usually we go to them.”
Last year’s T4G collected 16,290 non-perishable food items, $1,205 in cash and several huge bins full of bottles and cans for recycling, besting the previous year’s total. The school set a high-water mark in 2017, collecting an incredible 26,411 items for the event’s 25th anniversary.
“Our goal is just to hopefully make near to the amount we are usually able to make, under these unusual circumstances,” Quibing said.
New this year, organizers have set up a donation box outside the school where people can drop off non-perishable food items during school hours, and students are bringing items to school to donate in class, all to help make sure this revamped Thanks 4 Giving campaign doesn’t fall short in a year when many in the community have been hit hard by the economic impacts of the ongoing pandemic.
Delview’s Thanks 4 Giving drive-thru food drive will take place from 4-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28. Delview Secondary is located at 9111 116th Street in North Delta.