May 7th, 2020
Dina Rehanek is not one to be discouraged when presented with a problem. When Rehanek, an assistant in the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) Health, Safety and Security Department, first heard local Food Banks needed food, she felt compelled to help. With the help of her husband and two children, they created Feed the Need.
Rehanek knew she wanted to collect food due to the increase in demand on the food bank, but was unsure how to do it safely. “One day I was out walking my dog, and I saw all the blue bins at the end of people’s driveways. That’s when I had the answer,” she said. Residents could put their donation in their blue bins and place them at the end of their driveways, making donating and collecting items contactless.
Every Saturday, rain or shine, you will find Rehanek and one of her two children walking through their neighbourhood in Cambridge. It takes them over two hours to hand out 250 flyers –that’s over 17,000 steps – but they don’t mind.
On Sundays, the entire Rehanek family comes out to pick up donations. Her husband drives a truck with Rehanek and their children walking behind, loading food into their truck and leaving hand-made Thank You notes for the donors.
Although the first round had a modest result, by the second time, the family collected a full truckload of food, 647 lbs worth, and received a donation of $500 towards the local Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank. Now six weeks in with over 2342lbs of food collected, there is no end in sight.
“We have noticed we have more success when the weather is nice since more people are out in their yards, and we can explain what we are doing – from a safe distance,” she said.
While not everyone participates, those who donate give a lot. “I think everyone has something in their pantry they could give up to someone who needs it.” To make donations easier, their flyer includes a list of the food bank’s most needed items. To her surprise, jarred baby food is on the list of the most needed items, which is something people may not realize food banks accept and need.
Rehanek and her family created a website to raise awareness of Feed the Need. It includes a link to donate directly to the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank, the time and location of the next pick up and an email address to volunteer your time and join Feed the Need.
“It’s all of our duty to stay home, but I wanted to do more to help,” said Rehanek.
Learn more about Feed the Need and how to donate by visiting their website.
#WRDSBGivesBack highlights ways our WRDSB Family – students, staff and families – are giving back to their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you know someone in the WRDSB Family who is giving back, share their story with us.