../Morning Post
Posted February11, 2011

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Donations

Zehrs Markets Stores Inspire Rangers Fans To Give More At Don Cameron Potato Night

WATERLOO – Kitchener Rangers fans came prepared for the 14th annual Don Cameron Potato Night with the Kitchener Rangers in support of House of Friendship’s February Potato Blitz campaign. They had heard that Zehrs Markets stores would be donating an amount of potatoes equivalent to the total number of potatoes Rangers’ fans brought to the game.

Fan after fan entered The Aud with bags of potatoes. By the time the whistle blew for the start of the game, Rangers fans had donated 4,700 pounds of potatoes, the most ever collected at Don Cameron Potato Night. As promised, Zehrs Markets stores has donated another 4,700 pounds of potatoes.

Meanwhile, as Rangers fans filed through the doors, many also dropped coins and bills into donation buckets. They set another record for the event, donating a whopping $6,422! This amounts to a 40 per cent increase over last year, and the timing could not be more important.

When its stock of potatoes runs out, House of Friendship uses Potato Night donations to purchase potatoes from a local supplier at a very special rate. This year, the rate has increased from 10 cents to 15 cents per pound. Higher donations from Rangers fans, together with support from Zehrs Markets® stores, will help off-set this cost increase, enabling House of Friendship to maintain vital supplies.

“I think the results speak for themselves. What Don Cameron, Zehrs Markets® stores, Rangers fans, and volunteers accomplished is quite remarkable,” commented John Neufeld, Executive Director with House of Friendship. “Even with the challenge of higher potato-costs, if we add everything up from the Potato Night it equals the equivalent of 54,213 pounds of potatoes, which is up from last year. ‘Team Blitz’ led by Don Cameron has really gotten this year’s Potato Blitz campaign off to an incredible start. We can’t thank them enough.”

“Rangers fans have always given generously to Don Cameron Potato Night. We knew they would respond to the generosity of Zehrs Markets® stores, but I’m still surprised how much fans gave,” commented Don Cameron, ‘coach’ of ‘Team Blitz’, “When you see the potatoes piled in The Aud, it really reminds you how much these fans care about our community.”

Potatoes collected that evening were shipped to House of Friendship’s Emergency Food Hamper program to be added to food hampers for local families in need. In 2010, this program distributed over 32,000 emergency food hampers.

This year’s Don Cameron Potato Night marked the kick-off to House of Friendship’s 16th annual February Potato Blitz. The goal of the Blitz is to collect enough potatoes to provide food assistance for the entire year across House of Friendship’s 18 programs. The amount collected at the game represents over 30 per cent of this year’s goal of 170,000 lbs of potatoes.

If you missed the hockey game, you can still support the Potato Blitz. Two other Blitz events are slated for February. On Saturday February 12, 2011, 9 am – 3 pm local shoppers can ‘get into the game’ during the Supermarket Blitz at 17 participating grocery stores in Kitchener Waterloo and Elmira. Volunteers from local churches will be at stores collecting donations and potatoes, including at Zehrs Markets® Beechwood location, where volunteer John Lambert, a.k.a. King Spud invites you to help stuff the Faith FM Smart Car with spuds.

Finally, you can share a warm lunch with friends of House of Friendship at its Community Potato Lunch, Friday February 25, 2011, 12:00 – 1:00 pm at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Kitchener. All are welcome at this special lunch of potato dishes. There is no cost for lunch, but donations will be gratefully accepted.

New this year, local groups, schools and businesses are invited to host their own Potato Drive during the month of February. Donations can also be made throughout the month at the Emergency Food Hamper Program, 807 Guelph St., Kitchener, (Mon.- Fri., 9am-4pm), at the Charles Street Men’s Hostel, 63 Charles St., E., Kitchener (anytime) or mailed to House of Friendship, PO Box 1837, Kitchener N2G 4R3

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