Students and staff at Delview Secondary are hard at work preparing for Thanks 4 Giving, the school’s massive annual one-night food drive.
More than just your typical school food drive, T4G (as it’s affectionately known for short) sees hundreds of students and parents, plus the school’s entire staff, come together to collect tens of thousands of non-perishable food items, recyclables and cash donations from across North Delta, all to benefit the Surrey Food Bank and Deltassist.
This year’s Thanks 4 Giving takes place on Thursday, Oct. 27, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., with a goal of collecting 20,000 items. Teams of students will fan out across the community, collecting donations door-to-door and bring them back to the school where they will be counted, sorted and boxed for pick up the following morning. Donations can also be dropped off at the school (9111 116th St.) during the event.
For those who have never experienced T4G firsthand, the event has the atmosphere of a block party, with excited conversations overlapping and intertwining with upbeat music blaring from the gym. Teachers, parents, kids, community leaders and volunteers all move about the school with purpose and passion, a smile on each and every face.
“I really take pride in T4G — I think the whole school does — because it’s a really big thing for us. It’s one of the things that makes Delview Delview,” Grade 9 student and T4G committee member Celine Mohamed told the Reporter.
“Everyone get’s connected to each other. We’re doing this for a good cause,” added Grade 11 student and T4G committee member Seerit Pooni. “It really helps people who need it, especially now when prices are so high because of inflation.”
Started by teachers Ron McNeill, Barb Woodford and Sandy Ferguson in 1992 under the name “Ten-in-One” (10,000 items collected in one night), this year marks the event’s 30th anniversary and a return to the in-person celebration of school and community spirit T4G is known for, after two years of scaled back “drive-thru” events due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Over the years — and in spite of the pandemic — the food drive has become a beloved school tradition, passed down from class to class, generation to generation.
“In Grade 8 I joined T4G for the first time [because] my sister told me a bunch of good stuff about it. She was like, ‘oh it’s really fun, you get to go out with your friends,’” Grade 11 student and T4G committee member Khushboo Pangalia said. “So I decided to go that night and it was so much fun, but at the same time we were also doing something good, which I like. It wasn’t just all of us hanging out, we were actually doing it for a good cause, which I really enjoyed.”
“I have three older siblings that all went to this school and they all talked about Thanks4Giving highly, how fun it was and the good feeling you get about donating and going out with your friends and bonding. I’ve always seen T4G in a positive light because of that,” Mohamed said.
Fellow committee member Joshua Thoreson joined the T4G tradition last year when he was in Grade 8.
“When I first came to this school, I didn’t have any [older] siblings or anything,” he said. “So I thought [T4G] would be a great opportunity to get involved in the school.
“I made a lot of good friends there. We were all very excited to be able to collect cans for a greater cause. It’s really nice because we get to go and see people from the entire community coming together and donating, and that’s a really cool thing.”
Thoreson and Mohamed work together on the “challenge” sub-committee, making games, riddles and quizzes for students to take part in (for the price of one donated food item, of course) as the school revs up for the main event next Thursday night.
“It’s been so fun doing that,” Mohamed said, adding that she, like Thoreson, has made “a ton of new friends.”
“I didn’t experience anything like that in Grade 8 because of COVID — a lot of the clubs and in-person things were shut down. So having a club like this, I couldn’t even dream of it last year, but it’s made my year this year.”