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BC Thanksgiving Food Drive Helps the Hungry

Communities all across British Columbia collected over 350 000 pounds of non-perishable food items between 10-15 September 2012 for the annual British Columbia Thanksgiving Food Drive.

Approximately 5 150 people participated in the event, contributing over 16 000 hours of service. Volunteers dropped off and collected grocery bags to thousands of homes, which were sorted and delivered. They gathered 40% more than last year, with a total value of all donations estimated at $900 000.  Local warehouses reported they went from empty to “completely full.”

BCTFD is a non-denominational project which has great support from local communities, businesses and residents who help attend to the needs of the hungry throughout the province.

“We had many neighbors and acquaintances come up to us during the week to say that they are ready to give some food for the drive,” said Dana Gorbahn, a spokesperson for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Terrace district. “It was nice to have the community recognize our faces as we dropped off the flyers and then picked (the food items) up...absolutely a wonderful and enriching experience. Our local food bank said that it couldn't come at a better time and that it was an answer to their prayers.”

The British Columbia Thanksgiving Food Drive (BCTFD) began as a local effort by members of the Church to serve the less-fortunate in the City of Burnaby in 2009. Now in its fourth year, the project has expanded as an annual event which involves more than 60 partner organizations and food banks serving 50 cities throughout British Columbia.

BCTFD executive director Andrew Rolfson said, “The success can be credited to communities selflessly working together donating time, talent and means to meet the needs of others – for this, we are truly thankful.”  

The Church regularly recruits volunteers to assist with planning and organizing the event and also completing collection routes. They partner with organizations whose members are willing to participate en masse as volunteers, and they connect with sponsors who will contribute to the operational fund and the directed donation programs.

Bob D’Lerma, one of the food drive organizers said, “Everybody in the church got on board, volunteers helped out from the community…it’s all very humbling,” he said. “We’re already getting calls from individuals and businesses asking how to get involved next year.

“This is an amazing reaching out among caring people all over our province and we are excited to have others join us so willingly,” added Brian Jones, a local Church leader in the Courtenay area. 

Denise Darrell, executive director of Sources White Rock/South Surrey Food Bank, was also pleased. “We are overwhelmed by the generosity of the many individual donors and businesses.” Darrell said, “Together, we are fighting hunger and feeding hope in our community.”


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