HomeSudbury News

25th food drive aims to be biggest yet

By: Sudbury Northern Life Staff

 | Nov 13, 2012 - 12:31 PM |
Organizers of the Edgar Burton Christmas Food Drive kicked off the event Nov. 13. Photo by Jenny Jelen.

Organizers of the Edgar Burton Christmas Food Drive kicked off the event Nov. 13. Photo by Jenny Jelen.

Last year, the Edgar Burton Christmas Food Drive brought in 88 tonnes of food for those who need it around the holidays and into the cold winter months.

Now in its 25th year, organizers are hoping to surpass that amount, ensuring more bellies stay full this season.

Jesse Hamilton, co-chair of the annual food drive, said all it takes is “one more can.”

Drop-off spots will be set up at various locations in the city, where the community is welcome to donate non-perishable food items and cash.

Geoffrey Lougheed, chair of the Sudbury Food Bank, said Burton would love to see the support his campaign has garnered since the Christmas Food Drive founder passed away from cancer July 9, 2010 at the Sudbury Regional Hospital at the age of 56.

Burton retired in 2009 after working 36 years in Vale’s divisional shops.

Burton was the founder of the Business Employees Food Drive at Vale and ran it for 22 years, said Dan Xilon, Sudbury Food Bank administrator. He began by contacting his fellow employees at the former Inco, and then branched out to involve more businesses each year.

He organized more than 280 businesses, employees and unions, and 24 schools in his last food drive effort in December 2009.

The reality is, Burton wanted to affect the lives of everyone, Lougheed said.
“He knew the ultimate was everybody having enough to eat," he said. “What really defines Edgar is heart.”

When Burton began the campaign, Lougheed recalled him working tirelessly to bring in food.

“I'll be over here, collecting food,” Burton would tell Lougheed, who would act as the voice of the campaign. However, by the time Burton reached his 23rd and final food drive, he had developed a fondness for talking about his passion.

That sort of infectious enthusiasm has left the community working hard to fulfil his legacy.

Kelly Strong, vice-president of Ontario operations at Vale, said the food drive is a time when the company and the union come together for greater good.

“It's a good initiative we can work together on for a good cause,” he said.

Along with food donations, the Christmas Food Drive includes a raffle for a Harley Davidson. The draw takes place Dec. 19, and tickets can be purchased until then for $10. A celebration dance is also taking place at the United Steelworkers Hall Dec. 23. Tickets can be purchased from the hall, and all proceeds go to the food drive.

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