News Story

British Columbia Thanksgiving Food Drive Gives Hope This Season

For more than a decade, the British Columbia Thanksgiving Food Drive (BCTFD) has been collecting food for local food banks across the province. Typically, the drive is co-ordinated in over 50 communities on the same Saturday each September. This year, BCTFD volunteers were out in their respective communities in the days leading up to and including September 26, 2020.

Over the years, the BCTFD has grown from an original base of volunteers primarily from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The BCTFD now includes more than 100 community partners and otherwise unaffiliated individual volunteers.

“It was great to see how the residents of our communities came forward to support the project,” said Andrew Rolfson, a BCTFD co-ordinator in Langley. “The success can be credited to our many community partners selflessly working together donating time, talent and means to meet the needs of others — for this, we are truly thankful.”

This year presented interesting logistical challenges in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. In some communities — including Vernon, Victoria and Vancouver — volunteers delivered door hangers encouraging people to make online donations to their local food banks. In other areas, volunteers delivered BCTFD paper bags to homes with an invitation for homeowners to leave filled bags on the doorstep for pick up on September 26.

Volunteers then worked to gather the food donations. In Maple Ridge, the local member of Parliament for Pitt Meadows–Maple Ridge, Marc Dalton, came out and assisted in the collection.

The donations were then taken to centralized drop-off points. In all cases, care was taken to adhere to COVID-19 protocols, including wearing masks, physically distancing and providing sanitary treatment of donations.

For volunteers like 71-year-old Noel Crawford, who single-handedly delivered 825 door hangers in support of Greater Victoria’s BCTFD, it was a great experience to provide needed help to a worthwhile cause. Crawford said, “The food bank is the most important charitable service in Victoria, as it helps innumerable families who are managing the high cost of living in the city.”

In many cases, communities reported a significant increase in donations collected over previous years, something not expected given the pandemic. In the community of Maple Ridge, 6,500 houses were canvassed by over 75 volunteers who collected over 15,000 pounds of food. Likewise, the community of Willoughby, in Langley, saw a major increase in food donations — over 26,000 pounds were collected. In Quesnel, 6,759 pounds of food were collected for the Salvation Army food bank, an 829-pound increase from the year before.

Organizers in Quesnel and many other areas attributed the boost to increased participation from other community partners and individuals not associated with any particular organization. One volunteer, a single mother and prior recipient of food from the local food bank in Quesnel, was grateful to be able to give back by helping with the food drive.

The hundreds of thousands of pounds of food collected and the thousands of dollars donated to the British Columbia Thanksgiving Food Drive are truly changing lives for the better, including the lives of the many volunteers. The efforts of these volunteers and community partners exemplify Christ’s invitation to care for the poor and needy — “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, … ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.