As the annual Build a Mountain of food campaign enters its 11th year, the motivation that drives its founder remains the same.
“My goal from day one has been to try and fill as many shelves as possible,” Hugh Colton told Hometown News recently.
From humble beginnings in just one local community – Perth – a decade ago, the campaign now covers 11 small towns across Lanark, Leeds, and Grenville County.
Last year Build a Mountain of Food collected a total of 164,695 pounds of food and $108,982.41 in cash donations. The growth of the campaign is reflected in the fact that these numbers represent almost a third of all the food and cash donations collected over 10 years. The campaign’s cumulate 10-year total as of last year was 720,217 pounds of food and $370,526.65 in cash.
“That just gives you an idea of how these communities come together, and the overwhelming generosity of them,” said Colton. “It’s been a successful campaign each and every year.”
The annual drive began, Colton recalled, with a simple thought: “Nobody should go hungry.” The Build a Mountain’s founder was worried about local statistics of the number of children living in single parent families and the fact that area food banks were finding it tough to keep up with demand.
Demand continues to grow today, Colton said, as even parents working two jobs can have difficulty making ends meet in today’s economy.
One key to the campaign’s ongoing success is the support of area grocery store owners, who allow food drive volunteers to set up at their locations, and make their own food donations.
A long list of volunteers collect donations at the individual stores over the course of the campaign, as well as collecting contributions at Christmas parades throughout the region.
The title sponsor for the 2017 campaign is Hinton Auto Group, Colton’s new employers. “They have been tremendously supportive of this,” he said. The company’s four dealerships – two in Perth and two in Smiths Falls – will compete to see which can collect the most food.
The campaign will kick off Saturday, Nov. 4 in Almonte and Carleton Place, then skip a weekend to avoid coinciding with Remembrance Day services. The campaign resumes Nov. 18 in Perth and Lanark, and will continue as follows:
- Saturday, Nov. 25 – Smiths Falls
- Saturday, Dec. 2 – Westport and Elgin
- Saturday, Dec. 9 – Portland and Merrickville
- Saturday, Dec. 16 – Athens and Delta
If you want to donate but can’t make it out to one of these days, get in touch with Hinton Auto Group, either in Smiths Falls or Perth.