I’ve been a regional representative for southern Alberta for 11 years but I’ve never had an entrance to a growing project celebration quite like I did in Kneehill county this harvest season.
I knew something exciting was happening as I drove up the highway toward the Acme Linden growing project and was met by RCMP officers out directing traffic.
It was the growing project’s fundraising dinner—pandemic style. Approaching the growing project field, there were cars all over the place, 4-H kids with masks running back and forth between cars and delivering food, and 30 socially-distanced volunteers keeping things running.
The team behind the Acme Linden growing project has been putting on a fundraising meal every year for 17 years, and they weren’t about to let a global pandemic stand in their way.
“Early on, we put our heads together and this is what we came up with,” says project organizer Earl Jeninga, as he explained the group planned drive thru meals instead of a sit-down dinner for this year.
“We thought 400 people would show up because around 350 people had pre-ordered their meals.” 650 people showed up and unfortunately, Earl had to turn about 100 of them away.
The pulled pork, potatoes, coleslaw and dessert for a good cause attracted people from across neighbouring communities. “I had to walk down the line of cars and turn people away,’ he said.
“Most of them understood,” Earl told me. ““A lot of people came to pick up food for harvest crews. That’s something we will offer again next year for sure.”
As a regional representative I get to see the creativity and resourcefulness of people right here in Alberta who care about ending world hunger, even when a global pandemic throws us all a curve ball.
Earl explains what keeps him going, and it reminded me of why I keep doing my job too.
“I’ve been to Rwanda and I’ve seen what the end result is. It really gets you pumped.”
–Andre Visscher, regional representative, Alberta