“I’m going to go see my chiropractor!” exclaims Superintendent Heinz Kuck as he disembarks from his Nalu Outrigger canoe.
The veteran officer paddled from Sunnyside beach all the way around the Toronto Islands and back – a 22-kilometre journey.
He dubbed the trek Paddling For Provisions, an initiative he undertook to help raise donations for food banks and kitchens in 11 Division as well to motivate people to donate.
With the help of Constables Candy Graham and Troy Lorimer, along with the four Youth In Policing Initiative students at 11 Division, Kuck and his team overshot their goal of 1,100 pounds. They ended up collecting 4,600 pounds of food, so far, and they are still collecting more.
“We blew away our goal,” said Kuck, after completing his marathon. “Hopefully this will last (the food banks) a few months.”
Kuck said he took on the idea of paddling as a way of motivating Torontonians to donate.
“It’s about physical endurance,” which creates interest in the cause but, he added, “It’s also about being alone on the water and in a canoe – an isolation similar to what a parent feels at midnight thinking about food for their child for the next day.”
“It’s nice to know we are putting food on someone’s table,” said Graham, “It’s a different form of policing, it shows we are involved in the community and we care,” she said.
For Lorimer it was the community coming together and “going from nothing to almost 5,000 pounds,” which amazed him the most.
The community really did come together, with grocery stores, food franchises, entire fire halls and police officers from all over the city donating food for the cause.
“We are looking at collecting another 1,000 pounds before the week is over,” said Graham.
Both Lorimer, Graham and the YIPI students were on the water in a Marine Unit support boat, alongside Kuck, and cheering him on.
“I’ve never been on a Marine Unit boat before. It was probably one of my coolest days on the job,” said Graham, after the paddle was over.
However, for the team, the work is not yet over. In the next few days they have to distribute all donations, pack them up, and deliver them on Friday.
They will also be busy with something else soon – cooking waffles. As an added incentive, Graham and Lorimer challenged 11 Division officers, four fire halls and all the TPS YIPI students to see who would collect the most food. Once a winner is announced, they will be treated to a waffle breakfast made by Kuck and Graham.
The food donations will go to three different organizations in 11 Division: Breakaway Relief Foundation, New Born Church of God Inc. and St. Francis Table.