It was a record 25 years in the making.
Last year, Delview Secondary’s annual Thanks for Giving food drive collected 26,411 non-perishable food items for the Surrey Food Bank.
Delview was, as founding teacher Ron McNeill put it, the little school that could. And for the 26th time, the little school is at it again — although this time with slightly less lofty goals.
“We’re going to aim high still, but we’re not looking to smash any records,” teacher-sponsor Shannon Forbes said about this year’s campaign.
The goal is to collect between 15,000 and 17,000 non-perishable food items during the one-night event, which this year will take place in the evening of Oct. 11, from 5 p.m. to around 9 p.m.
Between 15,000 and 20,000 items is typical for the drive — a record of 22,009 was set in 2014 and then broken in 2017. Counting and sorting begins as soon as donations start arriving at the school, and the next morning two trucks arrive to take the donations to the Surrey Food Bank and Deltassist Family and Community Services Society.
Originally called the Ten-in-One when it started back in 1992, the event has grown to be an important night for the school and the community.
“It’s that event that the kids talk about even when they graduate,” said teacher-sponsor Deborah Hanson. “As a school it brings absolutely everyone together. No matter what group they’re in or what grade they’re in, they all come out and participate.
“And I think being on the committee, you see how much work goes into it,” she added. “It’s not, ‘Oh yeah, it’s one night.’ It’s months of planning and preparation that go into actually putting the event on.”
Since the beginning of the year, between 10 and 20 students have stayed after school every day (except Fridays) to organize the annual food drive. They take on all aspects of the event, from data entry to decorating to promotion. Mansinar Singh, a Grade 9 student, is the committee’s media relations man.
“It’s about charity,” he said about the event, which he took part in for the first time last year. “We can do stuff in one night that can help many people.”
In the week leading up to Oct. 11, when hundreds of students will head out from Delview into the community between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., the Thanks for Giving committee is working hard to get the word out to residents about the food drive.
“We have more success when people know we’re coming,” Forbes explained. “If they have the items ready, that’s great. If they can pull aside any canned foods, cereal, pasta, non-perishables, that kind of stuff.”
The students will also be accepting empty recyclables, as well as cash from those who prefer to give money rather than cans. Forbes also suggested that people interested in donating to the Thanks for Giving campaign leave their porch lights on during the Oct. 11 drive.
“We have assemblies for the students to be safe and not go into houses that are dark and things like that. So if lights are on [that’s a help for the students],” she said.