Praised this week for his past efforts on behalf of the food bank, Dustin Martin is looking ahead to the future of the Halloween food drive he started seven years ago.
Now a student at the University of Waterloo, the Elmira man is eager to keep the CANS project growing, as it has done since he was a 12-year-old with a helpful idea. Citizens Always Need Supper began as a chance for five or six kids who felt as though they were a bit too old to be trick-or-treating to still go out into the community and do something fun. That goal changed from good times to giving back, and the number of participants grew from six to some 130 kids and adults who took part last year. More than 5,000 pounds of food was collected.
In recognition of the work he put into the project, Martin was presented with the 2009 Outstanding Organization Donor Award from the Food Bank of Waterloo Region and Woolwich Community Services at Tuesday night’s township council meeting.
While gratified by the award, Martin said his goal now is to keep the momentum going.
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Away at school in British Columbia last year, he turned over the project to his friend Colton Bauman. Both older now, they’re searching out some younger kids to take over.
“This year I’ll be helping out with Colton Bauman,” he said of next month’s CANS drive, adding “but we’ll be looking for our replacements to carry on.”
The first pitch will be to the Woodside Bible Fellowship youth group, which has been a big part of the food drive for the last few years, he said.
“It’s kind of become a Woodside youth event. We’ll be taking [the idea] to the youth group – it just makes sense.”
The project may have started out small, with Martin and a few friends, but it’s reached the point where he believes it can take on a life of its own. It’s a youth project, and it needs younger kids to keep it going.
“I’ve been impressed every year – we haven’t slowed down at all,” said Martin.