Can still donate to help people who don’t have enough to eat

LISTOWEL, ON – A year ago, on October 5, thousands of people flocked to the Tollenaar farm between Listowel and Monkton, ON to take part in Harvest for Hunger.

The goal of the day was to harvest 160 acres of soybeans in ten minutes or less, and to raise $200,000 for Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

At exactly 1:30 PM, 120 combines started up, stirring up dust and excitement among the thousands of people gathered to watch. Eleven minutes and 43 seconds later, they were finished—not quite as short as the organizers hoped, but still a world record for soybeans.


Better yet, the effort raised $255,000 for the Foodgrains Bank, a partnership of 15 churches and church agencies working together to end global hunger—and also brought people from around the area together to celebrate the gift of growing food and helping others.


For the five organizers—Richard van Donkersgoed, Peter Rastorfer, Mike Koetsier, John Tollenaar and Randy Drenth—the day was a “celebration of all the great things we’ve been given,” as Drenth put it, and a chance to “do something to help those who don’t have what we have.”


It also fulfilled their vision to the day, taken from the book of Exodus 23:16: “Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the first fruits of the crops you sow in your field.”

In addition to local farmers who brought their combines to the Harvest, there were 300 volunteers who helped the event run smoothly—taking photos, counting donations, serving food, assisting the media, providing security, setting up tables and chairs, assisting with parking, running the auction and many other important tasks.


The group also received strong support from the local businesses that donated inputs and seed.


“Harvest for Hunger was a tremendous illustration of what people can do when they work together to help others,” says John Longhurst, who directs communication and marketing at the Foodgrains Bank.


“At the same time, it celebrated the gift of growing food and sharing of the gifts, skills and talents of the farming community.”


Documentation of the event can be found at


People who want to keep the spirit of that day alive can do so by donating to Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Donations can be made online at, by calling 1.800-665-.0377 or by mailing a cheque to Box 767, Winnipeg, Man. R3C 2L4. Mark Harvest for Hunger on your gift or on the online giving page.


Every year over 200 growing and community projects like Harvest for Hunger raise over $5 million for the Foodgrains Bank.  Together with other donations, and with support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), last year the Foodgrains Bank was able to provide 40,849 tonnes of food and other assistance worth $43.9 million for over 2.1 million people in 36 countries.