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Calgary Interfaith Food Bank Thanks Mormons 

On 8 September 2012, the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank expressed gratitude to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for collecting almost 525,000 pounds of food in just 13 hours during a City Wide Food Drive.

"They plan this event every year," the food bank's spokesperson Kathryn Sim told 660News. "We work with them, definitely in terms of logistics and marketing. But the 7,000 to 10,000 volunteers who are helping on the day of [the event] are all through the Latter-day Saints."

In 1997, Jeffrey Jacob set out to rally his friends and fellow members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in taking on the challenge of fighting hunger in his Calgary neighbourhood. The method they used was straightforward and very effective - they simply asked their neighbors to leave food donations on their doorsteps on a designated day, then gathered these up and delivered them to the local food bank.

Jacob lead the charge in expanding that project over the next several years until, by 2005, it had grown to cover every stand-alone address in the city. In 2008, Calgary’s City-Wide Food Drive established a world record, collecting more than $1 million in support for the hungry in a single day. This year, the more than half-million pounds of food collected by Latter-day Saints didn't quite make it into the Guinness Book of World Records like it did in 2008, but it is worth about $1.5 million and it's more food than they were able to collect a year ago.

Sim says the food drive by the Church helps fill the shelves during a critical time of the year, when the kids are heading back to school and demand rises.

"Our job now is to help those families and those individuals get through this kind of tricky time of year," she adds. "And then we'll hit November and December where there will be another couple of major food drives on the horizon for us which will then help us get through the kind of January to March period."

Last year, Calgary's Interfaith Foodbank helped out 147,000 people with food hampers.

"Because when we ask Calgarians to step up — and our intention was, I guess what was driving us initially was we wanted to regain the Guinness World Record and we did not do that — but I can tell you that we collected more than 100,000 more than we did last year during this 13 hour period," adds Sim. "And that is incredible."

Church spokesman Larry Spackman said it’s a chance to give back to the community. "What the Church is doing is giving an opportunity for Calgarians to be generous and Calgarians are very generous," he said.

Although Jeffrey Jacob passed away in 2010, his idea has inspired the establishment of similar projects in numerous cities and towns across western Canada.

Sim says, "All we can do is say thank you ... this, to me, is such a great display of what our community does when we come together to help each other.”

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