Community Stories

Students fight hunger for #HometownHockey

November 26, 2019

Hundreds of central Alberta families in need will have access to hot, nutritious meals this holiday season, thanks to a little friendly competition between Red Deer schools.

Ahead of this weekend’s Rogers Hometown Hockey celebration, a challenge went out to local schools: the one to collect the most donations for the Red Deer Food Bank Society would receive a special visit from the Rogers Hometown Hockey crew. It was a close race, but after two weeks of collecting donations, St. Elizabeth Seton came out on top.

“As I popped into the classrooms and the kids started telling me what their counts were, I actually couldn’t believe it,” says Heather Weaver, a counsellor and grade 5 teacher at the school. “They jumped right on board and started with the competition and the leadership kids kind of encouraged that by going around to classes, so that helped with competition. We’d say who was in the lead and who was in second place, so then the kids would want to beat the other classes.”

Students and staff at St. Elizabeth Seton collected a whopping 2,855 food items, followed by St. Teresa of Avila with 759, Holy Family School with 475 and Oriole Park School with 121 items.

“This will be a huge help, and it’s a great way to kick off our Christmas season,” says Alice Kolisnyk, Deputy Director of the Red Deer Food Bank Society. “It’s a great initiative that involves everybody helping everybody and it was great to see the camaraderie and a little bit of healthy competition between the schools.”

All together, the schools collected more than 4,200 food items weighing in at 4,438 pounds! Food bank officials say that’s enough to feed hundreds of people in need this winter. Last year the food bank helped over 7,000 families in Central Alberta.

“It goes a long way to start filling those cupboards,” says Kolisnyk. “It’s awesome, it’s great to see the kids come together and help other people.”

Students at St. Elizabeth Seton are now patiently waiting for Friday, when the Hometown Hockey crew arrives for a special visit to their school.

“We definitely have a really fantastic school community, we have lots of parental support, but the kids themselves are very driven and onboard when it comes to reaching out and helping others,” says Weaver.

The Rogers Hometown Hockey celebration arrives at the Gary W. Harris Celebration Plaza in downtown Red Deer on Saturday. The festival features live music, games, food and autograph signings with former NHL players Shane Doan, Glenn Anderson and Glen Wesley. Then on Sunday join Ron MacLean and Tara Slone for a live broadcast from downtown Red Deer during the game between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens on Sportsnet. For more information about the event, or to sign up as a volunteer, click on

Food Bank Donations for Hometown Hockey