Youth shows her drive to help others

[attach]5098[/attach]For 9-year-old Sarah Jordan, collecting three tonnes of food for needy families is no big deal.

“It was pretty easy,” the Leasider said casually.

Her favourite part of the food drive?

“Probably watching all the food getting loaded into the truck,” she remarks.

Sarah is a recent recipient of the TVO Kids Award for her work in the community. This is Sarah’s fourth annual food drive; the proceeds will go toward the Daily Bread Food Bank.

She originally planned to raise one tonne of food. In total, Sarah gathered nearly three tonnes, with the help of her family, friends and community.

Sarah came up with the idea to hold a food drive four years ago while sitting at the dinner table.

“Sarah had a full plate of food and told me that she wasn’t hungry,” explained Sarah’s mother, Lynda Debono. “So I told her that we could get into our car and drive for five minutes and there would be families and kids who don’t even have food to eat that night.”

Sarah quickly realized something was wrong with that picture. After hearing about the Daily Bread Food Bank’s Fall Food Drive on the radio, she decided she wanted to hold one of her own.

“I know that there’s lots of people who are really, really hungry and could starve to death and I think it’s really nice to bring food for them,” Sarah said.

In her first year, she raised 130 kilograms of food just from neighbours and her classroom. In her second year, she gathered 225 kilograms.

This year, Sarah decided she wanted to get her whole school involved.

“Each day of the week Sarah would challenge our entire school to bring in a certain type of food,” Debono said. “It was really Sarah who said she wanted to do something bigger.”

Northlea Elementary and Middle School raised 850 kilograms of food. It wasn’t long before North Toronto Skating Club, Tremblett’s Valu-Mart and realtor Patrick Rocca were pitching in.

Debono is thrilled to see how the food drive has mobilized the area’s youth. She said several kids in the neighbourhood now want to hold their own food drives, too.

“This was more than just a food drive,” she said. “What we’re really seeing as her parents, as much as it’s been incredibly beneficial that Sarah and her team raised the amount of food that they did, it’s the fact that kids are thinking bigger and getting more involved.”

As for next year’s food drive, you could say Sarah is already in the driver’s seat.

“It’s a little top secret,” Debono said. “But suffice to say she’s definitely going to try and beat this year’s record.”