An eastern P.E.I. man who has made a big impact on the food bank in Montague is expanding his efforts to three more Island communities.

Robert Benoit began canvassing in Charlottetown Tuesday for food donations, with drives in other communities coming later this year.


Robert Benoit will spent a lot of time over the next few days in this truck loaned to him by Kent for the food drive. (CBC)

"We're all fortunate enough to be working," said Benoit.

"There's a lot of people out there that aren't fortunate enough to have a job, and today's economy is getting 10 times worse than it ever was, and rising costs. I'm going to do what I've got to do."

Benoit knows what it's like to rely on a food bank. Thirteen years ago his family got into financial trouble after his wife had open heart surgery. They turned to the food bank in Montague to feed their three kids.

"He gave us food for about two weeks, and I said well, someday I'll return the favour," said Benoit.

That day came in October 2010. Benoit heard the food bank was running low on supplies. He took a day off work and handed out flyers to local businesses, telling them he'd be back in a few days to pick up food donations. He hoped to collect a couple of hundred kilograms of food. It turned out to be more than a tonne.

Benoit has repeated his efforts every October since, and this year is taking time to do similar food drives in Charlottetown, Summerside and Souris.

He made the rounds of 120 businesses in Charlottetown Tuesday, asking staff for food items that he'll pick up this weekend and deliver to the Upper Room Food Bank.

The manager at the Upper Room said the timing of the food drive is good because food banks receive fewer donations in the summer months.