Issuing a fundraising challenge

[attach]6484[/attach]For 10-year philanthropist Sarah Jordan, the fifth time’s the charm.

After raising 2,700 kilograms of food for needy families in her fourth annual food drive last year, the Northlea Elementary and Middle School student is upping the ante this time around.

Over the years, she’s raised more than 3,400 kilograms of food for the Daily Bread Food Bank.

“This time I wanted to do something bigger and get more of my community involved,” she said, fresh from a skating practice. “So I decided to do a challenge, with two more schools.”

Sarah is challenging Rolph Road Elementary School and Bessborough Drive Elementary and Middle School to raise more food than her school.

Rolph Road’s principal, Jeff Crane, has even raised the stakes, offering to wear a Northlea toque for one week to school if Northlea wins, with Sarah having to carry a Rolph Road lunch bag to school if Northlea loses.

“He just pulled that out of nowhere on us,” Sarah’s mom, Lynda Debono, said.

Debono was part of the reason Sarah decided to launch the food drive five years ago when she was in grade 1. It all started when she reminded Sarah how fortunate they were to have food at the dinner table one night.

“I think it’s really important that people understand there are people who don’t have anything to eat,” Sarah said. “So I think it would help a lot if more people could donate food.”

She says her friends have taken up the cause enthusiastically, albeit with different motivations.

“Some are just excited, others really want to beat Bessborough and Ralph Road,” Sarah said. “Some of them are nice friends, so they just want to help me.”

In addition to the schools, North Toronto Arena has offered to set up a bin in their lobby for donations, and students from all three schools assembled about 200 Thanksgiving meal hampers at Tremblett’s Valu-Mart on Oct. 3.

“The food drive has become so much bigger than just Sarah,” Debono said. “It’s a community event.”

Last year, Sarah aimed to raise one tonne of food and managed to raise three. This year, she’s looking at roughly doubling her total from last year to 5,500 kilograms.

“I’m kinda nervous, but I think we’re gonna make it,” Sarah said.

All proceeds from the food drive go toward the Daily Bread Food Bank. People can also donate cash at [url=][/url].

Sarah said she’s hoping to keep the food drive going at least one more year, and believes it’s a cause worth continuing.

“Sometimes it’s not all about you,” she said. “You should think about others too.”