Sport For Food aims to use sport as a vehicle for social change within communities around the world targeting the elimination of hunger.
Given the socioeconomic disparity in Canada, access to essential resources is not equal for all Canadians. Many live below the poverty line, constantly struggling to attain food and often relying on food banks to help them through tough times. As the reliance on food banks increases with the struggling economy, we must respond with greater support for local food banks. Moreover, it is not an issue localized to one community, but to all communities across Canada. Thus, Sport For Food (SFF) strives to battle hunger in communities throughout Canada. Currently, Five Hole For Food (FHFF), a subsidiary of SFF, engages 13 major cities across all 10 provinces through road hockey games. In the next 5 years, we hope to expand to over 25 communities, including the 3 territories, and 3 sports.
To battle this growing social issue, we unify communities through sport. Sport is used to foster a comfortable, inclusive, and enjoyable charitable environment, one that is unique from other experiences of giving back. By organizing a sporting event in a public location, we call upon all community members to enjoy participating in sport while gaining awareness of and donating to their own local food bank. This inclusive event draws all ages and demographics, including athletes, sports fans, bloggers, social media frequents, media members, corporations, and community leaders. A cause is just a cause until you add an emotion to it, and then you have a social movement. By channelling people’s passions and bringing together like minded individuals, our solution is to create connections between the donors and the beneficiary to create a legacy impact on the individual, which has been proven will yield a legacy impact on the organization and the community.
Sport is a very powerful vehicle for social change and bridging communities. Tapping into this potential, we want to channel the passions of communities around the world to bring sport and social change together. By organizing pick-up sport events for individuals to come play after making a donation, you’re changing the giving experience, making it increasingly personal and fostering long-term connections with a positive ripple effect in each community you enter. Moreover, organizing the sporting event puts emphasis on playing the game for the right reasons and ultimately for the food banks. The nature of the model is all inclusive to encourage everyone from children to seniors to come participate, creating an environment that bridges generations through sport and nurtures community by giving to directly impact the local communities.
There is no better example of our impact than the reach of FHFF in Vancouver. Organized on Granville Street, we had 3 road hockey rinks set up with over 200 players of all ages and demographics. There was extensive media coverage (on local networks) and appearances by Vancouver celebrities, media talent, and major corporations. The Greater Vancouver Food Bank collected over 40,000 lbs of food and monetary donations, more than doubling what was brought in last year and helping us surpass our goal of 100,000 lbs of food. Most importantly, everyone was having a good time and learning about the efforts our local food banks make. Some were even asking how to get involved with the organization, showing just how intriguing the underlying idea is.
Our peers include local food banks, major food corporations (e.g., Kraft Foods), and corporations sponsoring our initiative. As exemplified by FHFF, sport is an amazing medium for connecting food corporations with local food banks in a fun, creative manner. Play On! is CBC’s road hockey event, but it is only a tournament. Purolator Tackle Hunger is a popular program working with the CFL, but the only similarity with SFF is the social issue. It is localized to CFL cities, centralized on football, and only during the summer. It focuses on food drives and collecting donations instead of organizing football games, therefore not offering the same charitable experience we strive to offer. Finally, stations are volunteered primarily by Purolator employees, not involving other community members.