News Story

Calgary Latter-day Saints Rally During Food Drive After Recent Flooding 

Recently hit by devastating and record-breaking floods, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined with members of the community to fill shelves for the food bank in Calgary, Alberta.

The Calgary Interfaith Food Drive is the largest one-day food drive in Canada and has become a tradition of service for thousands of members of the Church. In light of the recent devastation, this year's food drive, the ninth annual one, was especially significant for Calgarians.

Local Church leader David Litchfield explained that this has been a demanding year for the residents of Calgary and surrounding areas as in June they experienced the worst flooding in Alberta’s history. Along with their neighbours and friends, members of the Church spent thousands of hours in cleanup efforts. With these continued efforts, many wondered how the food drive would be affected.

Calgary’s mayor, Naheed Nenshi, said, “The Calgary Interfaith Food Bank relies on this drive every year to fill their shelves for the upcoming season — shelves that are, of course, a little more bare than normal because of the flood.”

The food bank estimates that over 400,000 pounds of food valued in excess of $800,000 have been collected. Litchfield said, “We are thrilled with the results and grateful to be part of this community service.”

Each year, the food drive is an opportunity for local Church members to join with neighbours and friends in an effort to provide service and support to needy members of the community. Many have turned it into a tradition of family service and fellowship as they deliver donation bags to homes and return a few days later to pick up food items that they then deliver to a central drop-off location.

Julie Brewster, development coordinator for the Calgary Food Bank, expressed her gratitude to the Mormon volunteers. “The hours and hours of time … to execute the campaign and the sheer number of families who volunteer are absolutely overwhelming. Their dedication and enthusiasm are an inspiration to the entire city! … Without [their] support, individuals and families in our city would go without food.”

Many participating in the food drive were amazed by the donations received from within the areas hardest hit by the recent floods. “We were very surprised as we distributed the notices and bags to one block that suffered heavy damage to their homes during the June flood,” says participant Greg Glenn. “Because they were hit so hard and still recovering, we expected negative results. As we checked our route, we found some residences on this block had full bags for contribution left on their steps. One homeowner who had experienced water [that was] chest high in his basement commented that he appreciated ‘the opportunity to help others.’” Glenn continued, “This willingness to help others after [experiencing] such loss themselves was very moving.”

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