Soldiers posted with Sudbury's 2nd Battalion, Irish Regiment have been busy collecting literally tonnes of donated food over the past few days as part of the 30th Edgar Burton Christmas Food Drive.
Every year, local schools and businesses collect non-perishable food and money for the event, which benefits the Sudbury Food Bank.
As Cpl. Ben Hudyma helped load up a large MSVS army truck parked outside Sudbury Secondary School, he explained that his crew had been collecting over 9,000 kg of food per day throughout the week.
"It's great, everyone's got a very positive attitude," he said. "Working with these guys, especially, it's always a good time. We show up at the schools, everyone comes out and gives us a hand, and it's nothing but smiles."
Cpl. Hudyma joked the experience was nearly as tiring as a day of training with his regiment.
"It's a lot of lifting, especially getting it up and down the ramp here [on the truck]," he said.
"We're lucky that back at the warehouse we've got a raised floor so we can just back right in and bring everything out."
Helping those who need it
With a handful of stops still remaining on Friday afternoon, the Sudbury Food Bank's executive director, Dan Xilon, revealed this year's drive has already raised well over 100 tonnes of food and $50,000.
"The community has again stepped up to the plate and done a fabulous job for the people in our community who are less fortunate," he said.
"Sudbury's like that, right? You let them know there's a challenge and people will help out."
Around 16,000 people are fed by the food bank and its member agencies each month, explained Xilon.
"It's not always the same 16,000 people. We may get someone we only see once or twice, or someone who's been laid off or fired, then they'll get back on their feet," he said.
"But for every person who leaves the system, there's another one that comes up from the bottom."
Cpl. Jordan McPhail added it was eye-opening to find out how many people depend on such donations on a daily basis.
"It does [help the food bank], but again, all this will only last until around March, then they've got to restock the shelves," noted Cpl. McPhail.