An Airdrie Atom hockey club is learning about more than skating, stick-handling and checking this season.  They're also learning what it takes to be a good neighbour and giving back to the community you live in.  

The Airdrie Atom Travel T1 Red team donated 750 pounds of food and over $100 in cash to the Airdrie Food Bank thanks to a food drive done during November.

Manager Dustin Menger explains how they go the idea. "We kind of partnered with Alberta Highway Services in doing this.  They presented us with a sponsorship opportunity and as part of that sponsorship opportunity, we chatted about ways to give back to the community.  What we did was have our full team go out into certain neighbourhoods, this was the same weekend that the Airdrie Lioness' were doing their Hamper Program so we worked with them to make sure we were targetting communities that they weren't already participating in.  We sent the kids out into those communities, just going door to door basically and asking residents of Airdrie if they had anything to donate to the Airdrie Food Bank."

Menger says they also had a collection bin set up between the two ice surfaces at Genesis Place for Airdrie Minor Hockey Association members could drop off donations.

His nine and 10-year-old team members got inspired for the drive by hearing from Food Bank Executive Director Lori McRitchie prior to heading out.

"She came and spoke to the kids about why they were doing what they were doing, what the role of the Food Bank was in the community and really educated the kids.  Her main message was "neighbours helping neighbours" and I think they kind of hit the ground running with that attitude.  They started kind of slow to be honest, but then things really began picking up and you could see the smiles on the kids' faces as they were going door to door."

Menger says he believes the kids now have an appreciation of what the donations mean to the community.  He says a side benefit of the day was that it was an excellent team building opportunity where all the team could go out and doing something for a similar cause.  

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