One of Leaside’s youngest volunteers has received two national awards on the eve of her seventh annual food drive — along with a fist bump from Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Seven years after starting Sarah’s Food Drive, an annual Thanksgiving fundraiser for the Daily Bread Food Bank, 12-year-old Sarah Jordan has won this year’s Canadian Living Me to We Award in the “Youth in Action, 12 and Under” category, along with an Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy award presented to her and her younger sister Claire by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Toronto Chapter.
“Sarah is inspirational,” Premier Wynne told the Town Crier during Sunday’s Leaside Rotary Club community corn roast at Trace Manes Park, where Sarah and Claire were soliciting donations. “It shows that when these kids are supported by their families they can accomplish an enormous amount.”
Sarah raised more than 60,000 pounds of food for the Daily Bread food bank last year. Her goal this year is 70,000 pounds, starting with the $3,000 prize she received from Me to We.
When asked by Wynne how the drive began, Sarah related a story about one night when she was 5 and announced that she was full despite the majority of her dinner still remaining on her plate. Her mother, Lynda Debono, told her there were people living five minutes away who didn’t have anything to eat.
“That made me really sad, because we were so fortunate to have a meal when others don’t have anything,” Sarah told the premier on Sunday. “So I wanted to do something to help.”
Wynne, who was on hand at the event in her role as Don Valley West MPP, called Sarah’s efforts “phenomenal,” and when handed a $10 bill by an assistant to donate to the cause took out her own red leather wallet and withdrew a $50 bill instead.
“Thank you for donating,” Sarah said politely as Wynne dropped the bill into the giant water bottle she and Claire were using to collect donations.
“Thank you for having such a conscience,” the premier returned, with a broad smile.
Sarah’s Food Drive runs this year between Sept. 27 and Oct. 11. Her family will mark the final day with a community barbecue at McDowell’s Valu-Mart, at 1500 Bayview Ave.
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