PEI

'I'm just helping out': Fill the Shelves Food Drive in 7th year

An eastern P.E.I. man will be back on the road again this weekend, a month later than usual, on his one-person crusade to fill the shelves of the Southern Kings and Queens Food Bank.

Robert Benoit launched his one-man food drive in 2010

The food Robert Benoit is collecting will supply the local food bank into the new year. (CBC)

An eastern P.E.I. man will be back on the road again this weekend, a month later than usual, on his one-person crusade to fill the shelves of the Southern Kings and Queens Food Bank.

Benoit usually runs his Fill the Shelves Food Drive in October, but had some back trouble this year. With that behind him, he passed out more than 100 flyers to local businesses on Monday, letting them know he would be collecting this weekend.

"They're all expecting me around now," Benoit told CBC News.

"Everybody that I was dropping into [Monday] was saying, 'My God, we weren't sure if you were doing it or not.'"

Paying it back

The roots of Benoit's campaign go back almost 20 years.

A lot of people aren't fortunate enough like I am to have a full-time job.- Robert Benoit

His wife was recovering from surgery, he was at home looking after her, and her EI ran out. The manager of the Southern Kings and Queens Food Bank heard about his trouble, and came by with several weeks' worth of food.

"Someday I'll repay you. I don't know when," Benoit told him.

When Benoit heard in 2010 that the shelves of the food bank were empty, he got into his van and started asking people to help.

He collected two van loads, more than a tonne of food.

'A lot of people aren't fortunate enough like I am'

"I'm just helping out," he said.

"A lot of people aren't fortunate enough like I am to have a full-time job."

Benoit's campaign has become so successful he had to stop using his van because the weight was too much for it. Kent Building Supplies in Montague, P.E.I., now lets him use one of their trucks for his collections to fill the shelves.

With files from Angela Walker

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