An annual tradition for North Bay’s 22 Wing members may have looked different this year, but their goal remains the same.
On Tuesday morning, over a dozen volunteers from the armed forces base braved the cold in an effort to collect food and monetary donations for the North Bay Food Bank.
A drive-through donation area was set up just off of Airport Road for passersby to drop off food or money for the fundraiser.
Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Lunn says COVID-19 threatened the event from happening at all.
“We were initially worried that we were not able to do the event just because of the pandemic and some of the concerns in the community,” Lunn explained. “We sat down and we thought about how we could make this more pandemic friendly and maintain our distance for our members and the community.”
One of those pandemic-friendly alterations includes collecting donations “the Canadian way” by attaching money boxes to the end of a hockey stick as to maintain physical distancing protocols.
Lunn says some of the changes to the event may be here to stay.
“Some of the things we’ve changed this year like having the drive-through and the hockey sticks, it’s actually made us more efficient,” he noted.
Captain Jonathan Dargus, another organizer for the event, says despite the pandemic, he’s confident donations should remain consistent.
“We were expecting it to probably drop off after last year but I think we’re on par with last year as well,” he said.
Last year’s collections provided over 4,000 pounds of food to the North Bay Food Bank.
And for the Armed Forces volunteers helping out with the event, Dargus says they’re all happy to chip in.
“Usually for some events, it’s hard coming up with volunteers. But for this, we never have an issue finding volunteers for it,” he added.
In total, the fundraiser collected 3,360 pounds of food for the North Bay Food Bank.