Like bears fattening up for winter hibernation the managers of the Whistler Food Bank are working on two initiatives to stock up the pantry for the busy fall season ahead.
The Ironman Foundation has partnered with Whistler Community Services to launch a "Knock out Hunger Campaign" and the annual Foodworx food drive is currently underway.
Sara Jennings of the Whistler Food Bank is overseeing Foodworx. The campaign during Crankworx has two aspects: the Foodworx business challenge aims to have workplaces encourage employees to bring non-perishable food items to work for donation to the food bank. Cash donations are also accepted and Jennings said cash is better than food donations because the food bank has very strong buying power.
Jennings said that in addition to the corporate challenge food bank representatives will set up a tent in the village near the newly installed First Nations carving at Village Common.
"That starts on Thursday," said Jennings. "It's a three-day event where we have a tent in the village and we raffle off prizes."
Raffle tickets will be sold to anyone who wants to buy in with the raffle proceeds going to the food bank.
The business challenge, which started Aug. 9, wraps up on Friday, Aug. 16. Workplaces that signed up in advance included Chateau Fairmont Whistler, Pan Pacific Whistler, the Delta, the Hilton, Crystal Lodge, Whistler Real Estate Company, Meadow Park, the Whistler Question, Mountain FM and Canadian Wilderness Adventures. Jennings said businesses can jump into the challenge at any point before the initiative ends.
The business that collects the most food will be rewarded with a guided canoe trip for a few employees with Canadian Wilderness Adventures.
"We choose the winner by weight at the end," said Jennings. "Each dollar equals two pounds, so it goes twice as far."
Coming up on Aug. 22, the Ironman Foundation is planning to pull together a team of athletes, friends and families who will be in the area to help deliver grocery donation bags to Whistler residents. The residents will then use the bags to donate non-perishable goods to the food bank.
The first 100 athletes to commit to Knock out Hunger will receive an Ironman Foundation Whistler t-shirt.
Jennings said the food bank is currently keeping up with demand, but she pointed out that once things slow down in the fall the number of people needing the food bank is expected to increase, as the number of visitors to Whistler decreases with the seasonal cooling.