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Coun. Dhaliwal leafs the competition behind; wins coveted Golden Lettuce Award

One councillor was a-head of the rest in collecting food for Calgary’s hungry.

Councillor Raj Dhaliwal credits the residents of Ward 5 for helping him capture the inaugural Calgary Food Bank Golden Lettuce award.

The award, given out at Tuesday’s meeting of Calgary city council, was given to the councillor that raised the most food and funds during the councillors’ challenge portion of the annual Mayor’s Food Drive.

The Mayor’s Food Drive overall raised $447,000 in food and funds – roughly 10 per cent more than the 2021 amount (more still needs to be calculated). The councillors’ challenge tallied nearly $80,000.

“We are happy to recognize the efforts of Calgary to help meet the need of hunger,” said interim Calgary Food Bank president, Michael Pasma.

Pasma reminded council that hunger is a 365-day-a-year challenge and with the impact of inflation on families, they encourage local governments to look at all opportunities to get involved.

Coun. Raj Dhaliwal accounted for nearly 20 per cent of the overall councillor tally, coming in at $19,531 raised. Coun. Kourtney Penner was second with $7,123.85 and Coun. Evan Spencer was third at $6,659.20.

Dhaliwal's tally was comprised of $3706 in cash raised and 4930 pounds of food collected.

All councillors and the mayor participated and raised cash and food – except Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu.

Dhaliwal said he was proud to represent the citizens of Ward 5 in this friendly competition. The credit goes to the residents, he said.

“They have time over time risen up to support and help their fellow Calgarians, and this friendly challenge win is just a stamp on their generosity, which is second to none,” he said.

Mayor impressed by the support

The challenge began on Dec. 1 and went 11 days. It was a part of the 34th annual Mayor’s Food Drive.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek said that when she was a councillor, she wanted to find a way for councillors to get involved in the annual food drive.

"I'm really happy this year that council members were able to participate and that members of the media there were there covering the event actually participated as well," she said.

"It's important to make sure that we're doing everything we can for Calgarians in need."