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Leaside sisters’ 10th annual food drive tops 100,000 pounds

Sarah and Claire Jordan at Daily Bread Food Bank -MARK JORDAN

Sarah and Claire Jordan at Daily Bread Food Bank -MARK JORDAN

By Gary Webb-Proctor / 

It was a fateful day in 2007 when then five year-old Sarah Jordan heard a story on the radio about the Daily Bread Food Bank‘s annual drive to help families at Thanksgiving. Inspired by the report, she decided to start her own collection of non-perishable goods for Christmas that year.

Since then, aided by her younger sister Claire, 12, the students at Leaside High School and Northlea Elementary and Middle School have so far now collected over 400,000 pounds of food supplies over ten years through what evolved into their Sarah and Claire’s Food Drive initiative.

One-quarter of that total has been collected over the past three months since the pair began their tenth annual drive and decided to set a target of 100,000 pounds to mark the milestone, said their mom, Lynda Debono, who along with hustband Mark Jordan, manages the administrative aspects of the project.

With the help of community groups, businesses and students from across the city, as of December 19 they’ve hit their goal with time to spare and the beneficiaries will be local food banks and community services agencies that help out low-income families during the holidays.

Sarah and Claire Jordan receive a donation from Don Valley West MP Rob Oliphant -MARK JORDAN

Sarah and Claire Jordan receive a donation from Don Valley West MP Rob Oliphant -MARK JORDAN

This took an army of youth and passionate Torontonians to make this happen,” Ms. Debono said in an email announcing achievement of this year’s target.

We are a grassroots initiative, fuelled by youth who are determined to make a difference in changing the state of food insecurity in the City of Toronto,” she said.

Nearly three dozen Leaside-area businesses and several sports and activity groups participated in conducting this year’s drive, while thousands of students from 23 different schools all helped collect the goods through initiatives that streamed the supplies into the final total.

Although based in Leaside —where the area political representatives such as Ward 26 City Councillor Jon Burnside, Don Valley West MP Rob Oliphant, Ward 22 City Councillor Josh Matlow, Toronto Mayor John Tory and Don Valley West MPP and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne have all been big boosters— the drive has attracted participants from across the city in recent years.

Even though the target of 100,000 pounds has now been exceeded, the drive continues till the end of the month, Debono stressed, and as of this writing has now surpassed 102,000 pounds. Cash donations are also welcome and enable the organizations to acquire items not as often found in the goods donated by the public, she added.

For info about making donations visit the project’s website at, where you can donate to either Daily Bread Food Bank or Regent Park Community Food Centre.

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