More than 200 students and 150 parent and staff volunteers from St. Patrick's Catholic High School are set to go door-to-door in Sarnia and Point Edward this Saturday for the 17th annual Cyclone Aid.
"This is really a great thing to do," says Beth Schoenmaker, a Grade 12 student an co-chair of this year's event. "In one day we collect enough food to help keep the shelves stocked at the Inn of the Good Shepherd for almost a month. It's good to know we can make such a difference in our community!"
Each year, the volunteers aim for about 30,000 to 35,000 pounds of food. The Inn of the Good Shepherd typically goes through about 40,000 pounds each month.
Cyclone Aid, which began at the former St. Christopher Catholic Secondary School and continued following the consolidation with St. Patrick's, runs each year during Lent. It is one of two major food drives at the school. During Advent, students collect non-perishable food items for Irish Miracle, which supports the St. Vincent DePaul Christmas hamper campaign.
The students say they are amazed every year at the generosity of the community.
"Some people give us laundry baskets filled with food and others have several grocery bags full," says Izzy Kokkinis, co-chair. "It's nice to know so many people want to help - and we really appreciate it!"
Volunteers will go door-to-door from 8:00 a.m. until noon on Saturday. Residents can give their donations directly to the students, leave it on the porch, or drop it off at the school.
A kick-off pep rally was held at the school today, attended by Myles Vanni, Executive Director of the Inn of the Good Shepherd; Director of Education Deb Crawford; Trustee Linda Ward; Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley; and Point Edward Mayor Bev Hand.
Lunch will be provided for the volunteers this Saturday courtesy of the Catholic Women's League.
In the photo above are (L-R) Sarnia Trustee Linda Ward; student co-chairs Izzy Kokkinis and Beth Schoenmaker; and Director of Education Deb Crawford.