Monday, December 2, 2013

Hands of Hope Spreading More Holiday Cheer Than Anticipated:

Royal LePage and Merritt Centennials Hands of Hope Food Drive held Sunday
It was an important weekend for the Merritt Centennials off the ice, with the BCHL Five Hole for Food Challenge taking place on Saturday night with the Powell River Kings in town, before the Hands of Hope Food Drive with Royal LePage took place on Sunday afternoon.

Hundreds of teddy bears poured to the ice as a part of the extended activities on Saturday night, as the Cents earned a 1-1 split with the Kings, who currently sit atop the BCHL standings.

Following the game on Saturday, the Royal LePage trailer full of food donations was taken back to the Nicola Valley & District Food Bank and unloaded so that the trailer could be loaded right back up on Sunday when the Army Cadets, Centennials players and Booster Club members, and staff from Q101 and Royal LePage hit the streets.

With 25 convoys making their way throughout the City of Merritt beginning at roughly 2:15 PM, all the Centennials players were suited up in their away red jerseys ready to give back to the community that continuously supports what they do.

Myself, I was teamed up with a pair of volunteers from the Army Cadets, as well as Sach, Rusty and Jerry from the Centennials off-ice group, and goaltender Russell Sanderson along with forward Sam Johnson.

General Manager at the Nicola Valley & District Food Bank Marlene Fenton says that this Food Drive was not expected to have brought forth this amazing support, "Previous food drives have almost hit 3000 pounds, so this is a very incredible thing that happened this weekend."

Fenton also added that the quickness of the Food Drive might just go back to the youth who showed energy and community involvement.

"I really, really enjoyed having the young people involved in this, I think it is really important that they can be a part of this community, and boy can they work!"

Upon groups beginning to return to the Food Bank around 4:00-4:30, various volunteers began sorting, counting and weighing everything that came in the doors. The boxes, sorted in to beans, soups, and pasta to name a few; contained anywhere between 10 and 110 pounds of contents.

It took until approximately 5:30, but the final count was weighed in at 4,470 pounds, which is the most collected of any of the BCHL communities to date this season, with 8 teams still yet to hold their event. The BCHL as a whole has raised 10,604 pounds at this time, with Nanaimo sitting 2nd with 2,352 pounds in donations.

On behalf of the Merritt Centennials and Royal LePage, I want to thank every single individual who helped out with the event, what a blast! The best part is, everything we did goes to help other people in the community have a great Christmas.


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