Family channels grief into action for local food bank

The family of Kingston’s Amy Hanes, who died suddenly on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, will be hosting a special Halloween-themed drive-thru food drive this Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022. Pictured here is Hanes in one of her many food-inspired Halloween costumes. Photo supplied by the Hanes family.

The Kingston region lost a dedicated community supporter and volunteer when Amy Hanes passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. The 31-year-old was an active member of her community, supporting a wide range of local and national causes, as she sought to help those in need. One issue particularly close to Hanes’s heart was food insecurity, as she volunteered with local food banks for over 12 years. 

Every Halloween, her support of the food bank came out in full force. She made vibrant food-inspired costumes, with some help from her mother, and conducted an annual holiday-themed food drive in the Harewood Village and Nicholson’s Point area.

“She did it because she loved Halloween, and this was an opportunity to merge the two things together,” said Dave Hanes, Amy’s father. “She liked dressing up and going out and collecting things. She [heard] of other food drives that were done on Halloween, so it seemed like a good idea. One year she went as French toast, [another] as a deviled egg… [She’s been] Caesar salad, pumpkin pie, mac and cheese, and so on.” Last Halloween, Hanes dressed up as a “chocolate moose,” gathering an impressive 621 food items and $945 in cash donations. 

The support Hanes gave to the food bank inspired her family to find a way to remember their loved one while contributing to an organization that mattered to her. This coming Sunday, the Hanes family will be organizing a special “Trick-or-Treat Halloween Food Bank Collection Drive,” allowing residents to support the cause while honouring Amy’s legacy. Her father said, “This is to commemorate the fact that she would do this every year at Halloween. We’re going to have a collection in our family driveway for people to drop things off. For those who can’t make it, we’ll pick stuff up, as needed.” 

According to Dave Hanes, the support from members of the community has been “fantastic.”

“[There have] been messages of support, of condolence, and lots of reminiscing about Amy’s contributions over the years. Some people have [also] made donations online to the food bank,” he shared.

As for why Amy Hanes cared so deeply about food insecurity, her family isn’t quite sure. Her father stated, “Amy had very strong social interests. She was part of all sorts of [causes]. Indigenous issues, women’s rights, epilepsy, housing… all of those things were important to her. But for 12 years, she worked as a volunteer for the Partners in Mission Food Bank, helping pack boxes and so on. She would do that for two afternoons a week. And then, for 10 years, she did this local collection at Halloween.”

While the last few weeks have been “heartbreaking” for the family, planning the upcoming food drive has helped them with their grief. “Anything we can do constructively [to] help others [allows us] to reflect on the contributions she made, among other things, which are many. She was involved in so many things,” Dave Hanes expressed. 

This weekend’s drive-thru food bank collection takes place on Sunday, October 23 at 6 Edgewood Road in Loyalist Township, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Arrangements can also be made for donations to be picked up by members of the Hanes family. To schedule a pickup, please call (613)-384-4786. All donations will go directly to the Partners in Mission Food Bank.

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