Some recent friendly competition created a buzz among the front office staff at Friesens' head office in Altona. 
In 2018, Rod Dueck and Sandi Enns started Pay Day Forward Friday, encouraging their colleagues to make a donation to the Rhineland and Area Food Bank and/or a second non-profit they selected for a term, and, in exchange, they'd get to wear to jeans to work on pay day. Since then, the company's dress code has changed but the employees continued with the campaign. 

"It's never been that we really push it. We just kind of hope to get stuff and we do," said Sandi. "Sometimes the reminder will be that it's summer and kids won't have breakfast programs to get, so I just say kids are going to be hungry over the summer holidays and that usually gets a little more donations in."

"That's the cool part. We don't push. We just send reminders and every two weeks there's money in the bin and food in the box," added Rod. 

With many long-term employees in the office, Rod and Sandi decided to shake things up this last pay period and encouraged their peers to donate 50 cents for every year they've worked there.

"Then some people got out of hand and started challenging each other saying, 'I'm going to donate two dollars for every year that I've worked here' and somebody said, "well I'm going to do four-times'," said Sandi. 

And then, somewhere along the line, the Stanley Cup playoffs got wrapped up in the competition.

In the end, staff raised $1,100 and donated 126 food items.

"There was also a challenge put out to (CEO) Chad Friesen and to Friesens to match it," added Sandi.

In response, Friesens added $900 to the pot, making the total an even $2,000. 

The duo is now considering issuing another challenge to their colleagues in the fall and this time, perhaps connect with the foodbank about what is most in need.

"We've noticed that when the foodbank tells us what's needed, and then we make a request, we also get better feedback from everybody else," added Rod. 

When asked why they chose to support the Rhineland and Area Foodbank, they said it was because they heard there was a need. 

The Rhineland and Area Foodbank experienced a 35% increase in total client visits in 2023, serving a total of 2,638 client family visits. That averaged to 52 per week versus 38 per week in 2022. Through March of this year, the Rhineland and Area Foodbank is averaging 57.

"We've just got to thank the volunteers who work at the foodbank," added Rod. "Because they're there every week sorting and purchasing. A lot of the stuff they do, I've been told recently, that it's financial contributions and then they still have to go do the shopping. So, we're just a little cog in this thing. They're the ones doing the work."

Listen to Candace Derksen's full interview with Sandi and Rod below.