Students at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Elementary School in Elmira were able to support both the local food bank and local farmers through Fresh from the Farm, a school fundraiser where students sell bundles of local produce to family and friends.
Through the fundraiser, students and their families ordered 576 bundles of produce, which included apples, carrots, onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes, totaling 6,800 pounds of produce. More than 750 pounds were donated to Woolwich Community Services for their food bank.
Rebecca Metzger, school champion for the fundraising campaign, heard about the fundraiser last year and was intrigued, but the school board wasn’t on the list of participating boards.
“They work with the school boards and they’ve been slowly adding more boards. So this year they added the Waterloo District Catholic and public school boards to the list. It’s something that I thought would be great for the school,” Metzger said.
The fundraiser started in September and wrapped up this week when the food was dropped off at the school and people who ordered were able to pick it up. The apples came from Martin’s Family Fruit Farm and the other produce came from farmers in the Holland Marsh. Martin’s has been a supplier of Fresh from the Farm since 2013.
“Buying local and buying produce definitely fits into what everyone’s talking about lately, supporting farmers, supporting local,” she said.
They raised $3,400 which will be used for items at the school, perhaps Chromebooks and expanding the playground. The school receives 40 per cent of the sales, farmers receive 50 per cent and Fresh from the Farm receives 10 per cent.
With a school of approximately 200 students, Metzger is impressed with how much produce they sold.
“When the truck company was here unloading today he said this is the single largest order he’s had so far to date and he started delivering last week,” Metzger said.
She reached her goal of raising more than 700 pounds for the food bank and the parent council raised a similar amount to what they usually raise with their fall fundraiser.
“I think it was fairly successful. There’s talk about redoing this again next year.”
Metzger says a lot of parents got their family members on board with the fundraiser and if they knew they wouldn’t be able to use all the potatoes or carrots in the box they could choose to donate them to the food bank instead.
The fundraiser was also happening during Thanksgiving when there’s lots of attention on giving to the food bank, which she says helped encourage more people to participate because they could help the school as well as the food bank.
“Nutrition is always on the forefront of everybody’s minds especially when it comes to school and any type of fundraiser that’s different. This type of fundraiser was different from what has been done in the past. It seems to be well received. The food bank was on board as well so that was a different little twist,” Metzger said.
Parent council co-chair Greg Elliott notes their fundraiser was a dance-a-thon last year, but the Fresh from the Farm seems to be the ideal candidate for next year as well.
“We’re looking to expand next year, go more out in to the community as a whole, seeing as a lot of the results of the fundraiser go to the food bank,” Elliott said.