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Drive-through BBQ cooks up funds for U-Way

Regional Food Distribution Association says event way to give back to agency.
RFDA United Way Feed the Hunger
The "Feed the Hunger" drive-through barbeque aimed to raise thousands for the local United Way Friday. (Ian Kaufman,

THUNDER BAY – The COVID-19 pandemic has forced agencies that rely on donations to get creative. The “Feed the Hunger” drive-through barbeque hosted by the Regional Food Distribution Association (RFDA) was the latest example, aiming to raise thousands for the United Way of Thunder Bay.

RFDA Food Service Manager Tanner Harris said his organization, which distributes food to numerous food banks and other groups in the region, wanted to reciprocate after years of financial assistance from the United Way.

“They support us all the time,” he said. “This is our way to give back to them.”

Harris and a team of volunteers had their work cut out for them Friday, with a lineup of vehicles not letting up through much of the afternoon outside the RFDA’s Syndicate Avenue headquarters (they also welcomed walk-ups).

The positive reception was a good sign for the event’s tentative goal to raise $3,000 to $4,000 for the local United Way.

Perhaps the biggest draw was the sought-after wild rice bison burger, served on a bannock bun. Sourced from Stanley Hill Bison, it was one of several locally-produced items on offer, along with fries made from B&B Farms potatoes and local beef patties.