Edible dominos

Surender Jayabal donated 54 cases, or 648 boxes, of macaroni and cheese for this year’s ‘Knockdown for Hunger. Submitted photo

The ‘Knockdown for Hunger’ foodraiser is coming back to the Gateway Mall this year, and the bar has already been set quite high.

The event, which benefits the Prince Albert Food Bank, was debuted last year. After its successful inaugural turnout, the food bank and the mall decided to do it again in 2017.

The event sees groups of people competing to see who can collect the greatest number of boxes of macaroni and cheese. The collected boxes are then set up like a line of dominos, and knocked down. The person or group who collects the greatest amount of boxes gets the honour of starting the chain reaction.

Last year the fire department collected 559 boxes, earning the right to knock down the boxes. A total of 4,025 boxes were collected, far surpassing the 3,000-box target.

This year the mall is aiming even higher, as they’re aiming for 6,000 boxes.

They already have a head start, from a familiar face. Last year, A&W manager Surender Jayabal donated 132 boxes to the cause. He purchased the boxes with his birthday money.

This year, he’s upped the ante, coming to the mall with 54 cases, or 648 boxes, of the stuff. The donation puts him above any entry from last year, and if no one can top it, he will earn the right to set off the boxes during this year’s street fair, June 17.

“He’s just spectacular, said Gateway mall marketing Coordinator Donna Hordyski. “It’s truly an honour to be associated with him.

The email went out yesterday encouraging groups to come forward. Some not for profits, such as the Prince Albert Literacy Network, are already working to become the top donors.

Individual good Samaritans can also donate in the large collection box at centre court. Larger donations can be dropped off at the Gateway Mall office, where they will be tallied to record a winner.

While the event is an effective way to collect a food bank staple, it’s also a lot of fun.

“It was quite exciting,” Hordyski said. “We’re going to knockdown hunger.”

Food bank executive director Wes Clark explained how the project helps them out, especially during their busiest time of year.

“It’s a staple in many peoples diets. It’s always a big one for us,” he said of macaroni and cheese. ‘Stocking up on that helps us put money in other places to buy other things.”

The summer is one of the busier times of year for the food bank, and it spends a lot of its time buying the stock required.

“(The knockdown) comes just before summer. It’s one less thing we have to buy.”

Last year a group of nursing student volunteers came out to set up the course. Clark is still sorting out helpers for this year’s project, and welcomes anybody who’s interested or has unique ideas on how to best set out the boxes. He’s also looking forward to the big day, when all the boxes will come down.

“We had a great turnout last year,” he said. It was great for everybody to see, so absolutely we’re going to do it again. The kids really enjoyed it, too.”