TORONTO – Today, Olympians in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver took time away from their training and families to spend a few hours giving back to their communities by volunteering at their local food banks as part of the annual spring food drives. This Canadian Olympic Committee initiative, which also saw Olympians volunteer at the Ottawa Food Bank two days earlier, is a growing event which in future will expand to include Olympians volunteering in even more cities and towns across Canada.
“Whether on or off the field of play, our Olympians inspire Canadians through their actions, their dedication and their commitment to the Olympic values,” said Marcel Aubut, President of the Canadian Olympic Committee. “Volunteering time in their communities is just another demonstration of the capacity of sport to bring about positive change in our society.”
In Montreal at the Moisson Montreal, local volunteers packed boxes next to a triple-threat of synchronized swimmers, including: Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympian Tracy Little; and Barcelona 1992 Olympic Silver Medallists Penny and Vicky Vilagos.
“I’m just so pleased to be part of this,” said Little. “It shows that Canadian Olympians are a family and interested in giving back, regardless of whether we are still in active competition or not.”
Olympians who lent a hand at the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto included: London 2012 Bronze Medallist in the sport of Canoeing Mark Oldershaw; Beijing 2008 Olympian in the sport of Fencing, Olya Ovtchinnikova; London 2012 Silver Medallist in the sport of Kayak, Adam van Koeverden; and Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988 Olympian in the sport of Field Hockey, Sharon Speers.
“As an Olympian, you have access to all these incredible experiences and opportunities both inside and outside your community which you wouldn’t otherwise get,” said Oldershaw. “It feels great to be able to participate in something that lets you contribute something back as well.”
Volunteers at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society included: Montreal 1976 and Moscow 1980 Olympian in the sport of Swimming Graham Smith; London 2012 Olympian in the sport of Table Tennis, Andre Ho.
“This time of year is a reminder that lots of people can use a helping hand,” said Ho. “I’m happy to be able to help to make a difference to those families, even in a small way.”
Close to 900,000 Canadians a month are assisted by foodbanks, and almost 40 per cent of those are youth or children. For more information on how you can help vulnerable families in the Montreal area, visit: moissonmontreal.org; in the Toronto area, visit: dailybread.ca; and in Vancouver area, visit foodbank.bc.ca.
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