A new initiative hopes to fill the shelves of the local food bank. The One Bag Challenge (#onebagchallengefernie) is a collaboration project between Kettle Black Bartending and the Fernie Food Bank, and challenges local businesses to fill a bag of food to donate to the food bank.
According to Kristina Wakeford of Kettle Black Bartending, the project was inspired by similar initiatives in British Columbia.
“We had heard of similar initiatives taking place in the Okanagan. These projects had not taken place on as large of a scale, but they were executed using the same general concept,” said Wakeford. After hearing about the similar initiatives, Wakeford and her co-workers at Kettle Black learned of “the dire need of the food bank during the summer months. Demand often exceeds supply from June-August and there are very few organizations willing to organize food drives and personal donations are often few during this time.”
They contacted the Fernie Food Bank to see if there was something they could do to help organize a food drive.
“We contacted Pearl at the Fernie Food Bank to confirm what we had read and she could not emphasize enough how desperate times were and how tremendously it would help to have someone organize a food drive. At this point, there was no way we could lie dormant and do nothing so the #onebagchallengefernie was born,” said Wakeford.
The challenge operates with local businesses challenging each other to fill a bag. Kettle Black started the challenge by nominating five businesses to fill a grocery-sized bag of perishable and non-perishable food items.
“In turn, we have asked each nominated business to select two fellow businesses to do the same. After only three days, we have had nine businesses actually donate – many of them have donated more than one bag of goods – and a total of 21 businesses have been nominated,” said Wakeford. “Our goal is to have 100 businesses participate and be able to donate 100 bags of goods to the food bank by the end of August.”
The challenge started on Aug. 8 and will be going until Aug. 31, for a total of three weeks. Wakeford said they are already looking ahead to next year.
“We are hopeful that the #onebagchallengefernie can become an annual fundraiser. Now that we are aware of the situation of our local food bank during the summer months, we never want to see their shelves go empty again,” she said.
The Healing Hollow has set up a donations drop off location at their store during normal business hours. The initiative also encourages individual donations to the Food Bank.