News Story

Mormon Missionaries Help Edmonton’s Food Bank

Over 150 Mormon missionaries greeted almost 350,000 people as they filed off shuttle buses  into Hawrelak Park to attend the Edmonton Heritage Festival, collecting over 60,000 kilograms of food between 2–4 August 2014.

For over 10 years missionaries from the Canada Edmonton Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have volunteered at the huge multi-cultural celebration by working with Edmonton’s Food Bank to collect food donations brought to the free festival.

The Edmonton Heritage Festival is known for its food and entertainment from over 60 nations, all of which is provided by various Edmonton groups that prepare throughout the year to share aspects of their cultures with their neighbours.

Attendees bought food tickets to enjoy treats from around the world and missionaries collected any unused tickets to be used for donation to Edmonton’s Food Bank. These unused tickets translated into $60,000 cash to feed Edmonton’s hungry.

Larry G. Manion, president of the Canada Edmonton Mission, said, “The people of Edmonton are very generous in their donations to the food bank, and it’s great to have the missionaries be part of that. We want to show our support for a really good cause in the community.”

Several dozen missionaries also helped translate information into English for people who spoke French, German, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.  Missionaries also volunteered at the Philippines pavilion .

Elder David Mann from Murray, Utah, said, “I enjoyed experiencing other people’s cultures. It was wonderful. The atmosphere was like family. There were no strangers. Everyone got to know each other and experience their cultures. Everyone was there to share what they love. To experience their passion for life was great. We shared our passion for the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Executive director of Edmonton’s Food Bank Marjorie Bencz has been pleased to have Mormon missionaries help out with this community effort for the past decade. “They’re wonderful. I love those young people. They are delightful ambassadors to work with. They are so self-sufficient and well organized, and so pleasant working with the public.”

Missionaries worked together and met people from around the world. Elder Ashton Omdahl from Johannesburg, South Africa, said, “All the missionaries liked the chance to try foods from around the world, but we especially enjoyed meeting people from many different cultures.”

President Manion says the missionaries who come to Edmonton want “to be part of the communities where they live, to be a constructive and helping part of the community.”

This September, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will conduct an annual door-to-door Latter-day Saint Food Drive in communities throughout the Edmonton region.

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