SFU grad scores food bank donations


By Kelli Gustafson 

Richard Loat finishes up third annual Five Hole for Food national tour

On July 21, Five Hole for Food concluded their 3rd annual coast-to-coast tour of Canada in the 800-block of Granville Street. Many people turned out to watch and participate in the organized games of street hockey while raising awareness and donations for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society.

Simon Fraser University graduate Richard Loat founded Five Hole for Food (FHFF) to raise money for local food banks by bringing together Canadians through a common passion: hockey.

Each year, Loat and his team embark on a 19-day tour of Canada, visiting 13 cities along the way. These cities include: St. John’s, Halifax, Charlottetown, Saint John, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria, and, finally, Vancouver.

This year, while in Victoria, FHFF collaborated alongside Topaz Hockey, a local non-profit organized outdoor street hockey club, in order to raise money for a local Victoria non-profit, The Mustard Seed.

Topaz Hockey was founded by Shane Nicholls and James Mallach of Victoria. Nicholls joined the FHFF team in wrapping up their season back in Vancouver earlier this month. “What an amazing experience,” Nicholls said after being invited to Vancouver, “the whole trip was life changing. It surpassed all expectations. I will make a promise to myself that I will not miss another Vancouver FHFF again.”

Nicholls played alongside Loat throughout the day in a variety of organized street hockey games. Three “courts” for street hockey were set up between Robson and Smithe on Granville Street, and included drop-in games, a kid’s game, a Corporate game, and a VIP game, which featured Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

FHFF has had their most successful year yet, raising over 130,000 pounds of food across Canada. Victoria raised over 8,000 pounds of food, thanks to combined efforts from Topaz Hockey, while Vancouver alone raised over 43,000 pounds of food for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society.

In 2010, FHFF’s first tour, they raised over 6,000 pounds of food across Canada. In 2011, they raised seven times this amount (over 42,000 pounds of food), and this year they have nearly tripled the amount raised from last year. As FHFF continues to grow, they have captured the attention of many Canadians in this nationwide event. Loat and his project were featured in the unveiling of president Petter’s new strategic vision for SFU earlier this year.

To participate is as simple as bringing a food donation and your hockey stick.

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