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‘If you can help you should’: Arborist raising donations for Saskatoon Food Bank

Click to play video: 'Arborist chipping in donations to Saskatoon Food Bank: ‘If you can help you should’' Arborist chipping in donations to Saskatoon Food Bank: ‘If you can help you should’
WATCH: Saskatoon arborist, Gavin Peters of Sterling Tree Service offers Christmas tree pick-up program for the cost of a donation to the Saskatoon Foodbank and Learning Centre – Jan 9, 2021

Every winter things slow down in the arborist industry and the same can be said for Gavin Peters and his company Sterling Tree Services.

However, Peters decided to put the extra time on his hands to good use, offering up a special service in early January.

Read more: Coronavirus: Saskatoon Food Bank prepares for 25-50% rise in demand

For the cost of a simple donation to the Saskatoon Food Bank, Peters will come to residents homes and remove residents Christmas trees, taking them to the local city compost lots.

“My industry slows down quite a bit in the winter,” Peters explained. “So, I was just looking for something I could do to give back.”

This is the third year Peters has provided the pick-up service, and although the first two years were successful this post-Christmas clean-up has even exceeded his expectations.

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Read more: Saskatoon Food Bank puts volunteering on hold due to coronavirus pandemic

In just two scheduled pickup days, Sterling Tree Services collected over 120 trees.

“I was a little surprised to see that (Friday was) just about as busy as Sunday,” Peters chuckled. “It’ll take all of eight hours.”

“It’s actually funny,” Peters continued. “There’s been quite a few people who’ve participated that didn’t even need their trees to be picked up, they just wanted to get involved.”

It’s not just the large collection of trees that Peters has piled up at the compost sites, his shop to is being overrun, albeit by a bounty of food donations.

“I don’t really have much room to do any work in my workshop right now,” he said. “I’ll be glad to take all of those donations down to the food bank.”

The large scale load is also going to provide Peters with a challenge he’s never faced before while collecting donations.

“I think we might have to bring the trailer to haul food down there,” he explained. “There’s quite a bit there.”

An exciting prospect that the Saskatoon Food Bank is grateful for.

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“What a lovely thing to see,” Saskatoon Food Bank Executive Director Laurie O’Connor said. “He was able to spend the time to increase the donations to, you know, think of the things that are most needed at our organization.”

However, Peters just credits the public who reached out to him to apply for the service.

“Ninety percent of the participants, it’s a bag or a box of stuff, some people a few items,” he explained. “It’s amazing how generous people have been.”

Although this isn’t his first year offering the service, it is the first year that he scheduled his drop-off with the food bank as opposed to just leaving it as an anonymous donation, giving their team an opportunity to have ‘all-hands-on-deck’ to receive the shipment.

When asked about the decision to start the service, the answer came easily to Peters.

“If you can help, you should,” he said. “That’s the way I was brought up.”

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