About 20 shoppers filed into the Real Canadian Superstore in Whitehorse on Saturday morning, loading their carts with items destined for the Whitehorse Food Bank.
Last week, the Yukon Employees’ Union Local Y010 made a $700 donation to the food bank and challenged the other union chapters to donate what they could.
The employees’ union agreed to then match the total.
Tammi Sikorski, Local Y010 president, was expecting the food drive to raise around $1,500.
The total rang in at $6,390.
“I was reduced to tears in the frozen food aisle,” said Sikorski.
The money was used to replenish the barren shelves at the food bank. Essential items like canned vegetables and meat were purchased, as were personal items like feminine care products, toothbrushes and toothpaste. The unexpected surplus also allowed for the purchase of juice boxes for kids, extra granola bars and cookies.
“The total was much higher than I had anticipated,” said Sikorski. “We live in an amazing community, we really do.”
The shoppers all met at Tim Hortons early Saturday morning, where they divvied up lists of needed items and partnered into shopping teams.
At the Superstore parking lot, food bank executive director Stephen Dunbar-Edge greeted the teams as they pushed their carts outside. Together they filled up the food bank van and a trailer supplied by the union.
Union chapters – including the City of Whitehorse, healthcare workers, Yukon College and others – together contributed about $3,200.
The Yukon Employees’ Union then matched the donations to bring the total to $6,390.
There were also about 15-20 individual food donations from union members, valued at roughly $50 each, in addition to the drive.
The food bank has been unable to fill food baskets for the past several months but after this weekend’s drive, Sikorski said the shelves are looking “pretty stocked.”
The food drive fits into Y010’s mandate of “unions putting ‘unity’ back into the community,” said Sikorski.
Local Y010 represents most Yukon government employees and is the largest chapter in the union.
“I want to extend a huge, huge thank you to everybody. It was a fantastic day.”