Drake, Saskatchewan, a small prairie village south of the number one, is home to about 200 people. While small in size, the community has made
a big impact towards ending global hunger. Over the past twelve years, the Drake growing project has raised over $242,000 for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
The Drake community has been involved in the Foodgrains Bank since the1980s, when it was still a project of the Mennonite Central Committee. Farmers in the area took part in yearly food drives, explains Wes Epp, who has chaired the Drake growing project committee since its inception in 1998 after Johnny Bergen, a pastor at the local North Star Mennonite church, offered a quarter of land to be worked, with profits going to the Foodgrains Bank.
Over the years, the project has grown a variety of crops, including many that were sold to the nearby feedlot. “Different farmers did the work every year,” says Epp of the project that was strongly supported both within Drake and from the surrounding area.
“People donated generously to the project,” says Joyce Laskowski, who managed the books for the project. “People liked how their money was being used.”
The Drake project disbanded this fall after twelve strong years working towards ending hunger. “We’ll still encourage people to donate to the Foodgrains Bank,” says Laskowski.
Wes Epp, Henry Bergen, Glenn Leggatt, Ed Ewert, Ivan Bartel, Floyd Bartel, Bob Bergen, Craig Bartel, Ross Shantz, and Joyce Laskowski all served as committee members for the Drake project, organizing the work, raising funds for inputs like seeds and fertilizers, and even planning community meals at the field, when harvests could be planned ahead. Many on the committee served for more than a decade. The funds raised by the Drake project were split between Mennonite Central Committee's and the United Church of Canada's Foodgrains Bank member accounts.
--Feb. 7, 2011