Steven Interviews Richard Loat – Five Hole For Food
As a special feature for CK Golf Solutions’ blog I was asked to interview Richard Loat, the founder of Five Hole For Food. Jeff and Tara met Richard at the Vancouver Twestival event (thanks to Marc of Amuse Events) and started talking about business. That is when they decided that it would be perfect for me to interview Richard to help build awareness for Five Hole For Food. Problem was, it was more than difficult to set up an in person interview; so instead we did the interview via email.
Inspiration and Planning
What made you decide to start up Five Hole for Food?
I’ve felt that the giving process is very alienating. Programs like Text to Give are great, and I see their merit, but I don’t feel like I’ve made a difference. As well, I feel the sense of community is diminishing so I came up with Five Hole for Food to harness the power of hockey in Canada to unite people, to bring people together across the country to make a difference.
It was inspired by my love of hockey and social media and seeing just what hockey did during the 2010 Olympic games to unite people was the real catalyst to start this.
How much time was put in to planning the trip for FHFF (where to play, route to take, teams to recruit, etc.)?
I can’t begin to count the hours. Just for me alone it’s a 12 month process. When you factor in our organizers across the country, our head office team in Vancouver, and all the other little things that go into the trip there really is no way to quantify it. I wouldn’t know where to start.
Partners and Staff
How quickly did partners jump on with FHFF? How hard was it for you to acquire partners?
It’s been tough like any charity, but we’ve seen a lot of growth as an organization and it’s been huge to sign up new partners that are helping make this trip happen again.
How did you build your staff team (Director of Sponsorships, Media Relations, etc.)?
When I say that social media has been the backbone of Five Hole for Food I can’t stress that enough. With the exception of my road partner Vic, everyone on the team is someone I’ve met or known only through Twitter at first. The ability to connect and bring together some of the best people on the social media sphere to make a difference just speaks to how powerful Twitter is as a tool.
How much food was collected last year?
We collected 6,000 lbs of food across the country on our inaugural trip with 3,000 lbs of that being raised in Vancouver on the last stop. After that we’ve had a Christmas fundraiser which raised over 500 lbs of food, our Olympic Anniversary event which raised 7,500 lbs of food and our event for Vancouver’s 125th birthday at Birthday Live which raised almost 1,000 lbs of food.
Which province rounded up the most food last year?
BC was obviously the biggest with Vancouver and Victoria being our two biggest stops on the trip.
What are your expectations for this year’s FHFF: how big of turn outs do you expect, and how much food do you expect to collect?
Last year our goal was to raise one tonne of food, that’s 2,000 lbs across the whole country. We tripled that. This year we haven’t set any goals other than we expect to shatter our previous totals and really amplify the difference we make across the country.
Anything important that you think people should know that they might not know now?
Believe it or not, the summer is the hardest time for the food banks. It’s when their stocks from Christmas and Thanksgiving food drives are finally dwindling so we really help them at an important time.
Do you have any traditions while on the road?
We have some traditions, but they’re mostly inside jokes so sharing them wouldn’t mean much. I’m sure as we move on into future years we’re going to have more that will come up.
What is the pre game routine?
It’s mostly Eat, hockey, tweet, sleep, repeat. It’s a whirlwind 17 days but probably the most fun I get to have all year. Nothing like playing hockey across the country and meeting so many different people.
What is the funniest thing that has happened while on the road or while playing in one of the provinces?
I think the funniest thing was when we played in Winnipeg and the goalie was wearing a Flames jersey. I swear it was completely accidental, but let’s just say he’s learned never to play hockey without a jock, ever again.
What do you feel is the most exciting part of these trips?
I love to meet new people and empowering people to give back as a community is huge for me. For me I just get thrilled to meet the people that come out, share our story with them, and have them become a part of our story.
Is there a certain province that you can’t wait to have a rematch in? And why?
I love going back to Calgary. As a big Canucks fans we themed last year’s game Flames vs. Canucks and it was an absolute blast. Really looking forward to Round 2 of that. The other thing I’m looking forward to is a small detour on our trip. We’ve decide since we are all the way out in New Brunswick we’re going to detour and pay tribute to Luc Bourdon at his memorial.
Thanks to Richard for taking the time to answer our questions and share the story of Five Hole For Food with our readers.