TRURO - The rain didn't dampen the spirits of the volunteers or donors of the annual 12-hour food drive in support of the Colchester Food Bank yesterday.
From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., donations - both non-perishable foods and money - continued to roll in on Commercial Street. The goal was to exceed last year's total of 80,000 pounds, however, 66,000 was registered by the end of the day. One of the biggest monetary donations came, once again, from the Truro Lions Club. President Bill Ripley arrived before 9 a.m. with a donation of $10,000. Monetary donations are equivalent to one pound of food for every dollar.
For one volunteer, the community's generosity was a great sight.
"For about eight months, I've been a client at the food bank," said the volunteer, who only wanted to be identified as Clay.
"I go there about once a month for food and it does make a difference."
Clay isn't working at the moment while he collects disability because of problems with his hands.
In his free time, Clay wanted to volunteer at the food drive.
"Seeing all these people coming in shows good spirit," he said. "And I'm surprised to see so many out with the weather - that also shows dedication."
Mary DeAdder, co-ordinator of the food bank, praised everyone who made a donation.
"When it comes to the people of Colchester County, this is the most warm and giving community," she said as she watched volunteers collect donations from passing motorists, weigh them and load them onto a truck to be delivered to the food bank.
"Year after year after year, it's the same thing and it's not just one thing either."
Fore more than five years, the Truro Daily News and Colchester Weekly News have teamed up with the Commercial Safety College and local radio stations Cat Country 99.5 FM and Big Dog 100.9 to host the event. This year, Tim Hortons jumped on board to keep the volunteers refreshed throughout the day. Subway restaurant also dropped by with subs and cookies for those working, and they also had a monetary donation.
While this year's drive didn't reach last year's total, DeAdder said she was still "truly happy" with what was brought in.
"When we got into the 60s, I was very pleased. When we reached 65,000, I was tickled pink. Anything that came in after that was just gravy."
Donations from last year's drive fed 1,233 families over the course of three weeks during the holidays, and kept the food bank going through to May.
"That's the first time that's happened," said DeAdder.
Every year during the food drive, volunteers see a lot of the same faces, whether individuals, groups or businesses.
"They're so sweet when they come in," DeAdder said after a group of 12 four-year-olds with My World of Learning day-care centre arrived. The children all wore a garbage bag over their jackets and carried a grocery bag with a number of items.
Lining up, they delivered their food one-by-one.
DeAdder said a lot of people known to the food bank encourage those running the facility to continue on.
"They will buy extra to donate to this, even if they come into the office to donate," she said, adding one woman who made a monetary donation through her organization would be back later in the day to also drop off food.
"How can you go wrong?"
Along with those donating, the food drive also sees a lot of the same volunteers each and every year.
"I love it," said Rachel Murphy, who has been volunteers for 23 years. "It's my favourite food drive."
That number is the same for many of the volunteers - some even started volunteering with the food bank before the drive started in the mid 1980s.
"If that was a blizzard out there, they would still be there," said DeAdder about the volunteers. "The loyalty and devotion they have given to us, you can't match it anywhere."
The camaraderie the volunteers have built over the years was also evident at the drive, with lots of jokes shared while working together.
"It really feels like a family," said DeAdder.