Tournament uses hockey passion to feed Canadian families in need
Published Friday, July 5, 2013 6:59PM ADT
Canadians are known worldwide for their passion for the game of hockey and one man is using that passion to help feed families in need.
Travelling across Canada has become an annual tradition for Richard Loat, who is visiting 13 cities in just 18 days for the fourth year in a row. The annual trek is part of the Five Hole for Food road hockey tournament.
“Inspired by the Olympics in Vancouver, I realized the potential hockey had to be this vehicle for social change across the country and I wanted to impact communities, not only where I live, but across the country,” says Loat.
Last year, Loat and his team managed to collect $133,000 pounds of food across Canada, which is equivalent to the weight of 44 cars.
This year, they are hoping to double that number, with a goal of a quarter of a million pounds.
“I think it’s really indicative of the fact that, all over Canada, hockey brings us together,” says Loat. “It doesn’t matter if you have an NHL franchise, or a junior team, every city is as crazy about hockey coast to coast.”
Anyone can sign up to be a part of the tournament; all you need is a hockey stick and a donation.
Earlier this week, CTV News reported on the shortage of supplies at Saint John food banks. Dianne Swinemar of Feed Nova Scotia says it is a similar situation at food banks around the Maritimes.
“The usage and the need at the local food bank goes up, so we’re actually getting called to send more food out to the food banks, which is a challenge because it is the time of year we get the least amount of product,” says Swinemar.
“There is a misconception that hunger is a seasonal problem,” says Loat. “Feed a man at Christmas or Thanksgiving and he’s fed for the year, but the reality is that hunger is a year-round issue and the food banks suffer the most in the summer.”
The Five Hole for Food road hockey tournament heads to Prince Edward Island for a game Saturday. The team is due in Saint John on Sunday.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Matt Woodman