This Thanksgiving, a Queen’s student decided to give back.
Prior to Thanksgiving weekend, Queen’s student Daud Hassan, ArtSci ’25, carried out a remote food drive in his new role as a youth coordinator at Canadian Colours Foundation Kingston (CCFK). To eliminate barriers for community members to donate, the initiative picked up food from people’s driveways, with proceeds going to the St. Vincent de Paul emergency food pantry, starting Oct. 5.
“We decided that we should do something on this holiday, which is about being thankful for everything you have,” Hassan said in an interview with The Journal.
Instead of waiting for food donations to come to him, Hassan decided the best way to gather items was to go into the community. On Oct. 5, Hassan, his brother Aroz, and his friend Alex Montanegro, piled into his car, setting off across Kingston to collect food from people’s driveways.
“What I noticed was that because of the fact they don’t need to go anywhere, [community members were] more willing to give a lot of food,” Hassan said.
One donor and her neighbour, who was on oxygen support and unable to leave the house, filled the entire trunk of his car with boxes of food. By the end of the day, Hassan’s garage was filled with donations.
Once all the food was collected, Hassan brought it to the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Kingston and added to their emergency food pantry. Kingston community members can access two days worth of food from the pantry once a month.
For many, donating food at a central location can be inconvenient. In Kingston’s Trillium District where the food drive occurred, community members would have been barred from donating because they didn’t have time or access to transportation. Likewise, senior citizens who want to donate don’t always have the ability to leave their homes.
Born and raised in Kingston, Hassan recognizes the economic pressure the community is currently facing. The rising cost of living means more people are struggling with food insecurity across Canada.
“For some, this is the first Thanksgiving where they’re not able to have food on the table,” Hassan said.
Food banks and emergency pantries in Kingston are often out of food items for weeks on end, and the issue is only getting worse, Hassan explained.
Impressed by the level of engagement with the initiative, Hassan thought it was remarkable how dedicated people were to contribute what was needed. While food drives don’t always satisfy nutritional requirements, this time the CCFK email was overloaded with donor requests to understand what the emergency pantry needed.
“Some people donated special dietary options, such as gluten free and nut free options, to accommodate for people who might have allergies, and I’ve never seen that in any other food drive I’ve participated in before,” Hassan said.
As the son of City Councillor Jimmy Hassan, Hassan feels a responsibility to give back to his community.
“It’s my belief that I got from him that if you do have the ability to give, the best thing you can do for your community, is to give in any way that you can,” Hassan said. “It’s my turn to give and it’s my time to follow in my dad’s footsteps.”
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