News Story

Record-Breaking Food Drive Cheers Calgarians

In the face of a global pandemic and during one of the most painfully protracted economic downturns in Alberta’s history, Calgarians opened their hearts and pantries, donating a record-breaking 614,301 pounds of food to the 2020 Calgary Food Bank city-wide food drive.

Working in partnership with the Calgary Food Bank, thousands of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were among the 8,000 volunteers who came out in force to support the annual single-day drive. With COVID-19 safety protocols in place, volunteers dropped off 400,000 empty donation bags to Calgary doorsteps. On September 19, 2020, volunteers returned to those homes to collect filled bags and deliver them to seven drop-off locations throughout the city. Eleven semi-trailers then transported 34 loads of donated food to the Calgary Food Bank warehouse.

Calgary Food Bank president and CEO James McAra said, “In a time of great uncertainty, our community rallied together to ensure that no one will go hungry. Thinking more about others than themselves, Calgarians shared their food and time. This is a testament to the neighbourly dedication of our city and how a ‘casserole over the fence’ provides a critical social bond and commitment to each other.”

Deanna Clark, the Calgary Alberta Confederation Park Stake food drive co-ordinator, said, “We could never have anticipated the amazing response from the community this year. Pickup vehicles were overflowing with food. Each of the seven drop-off locations experienced overwhelming donations, and more semis were filled than ever before. We look forward to expanding community involvement next year, and we’re grateful for all volunteers.”

Participation in the annual city-wide food drive has become a cherished tradition for thousands of Calgarians, including families, many of whom make it a multigenerational event to connect with their communities.

Community neighbours, including members of various faith groups, also participated in the drive. When volunteer and Church member Dalton Harding reached out on social media to members of his community for help with this year’s drive, Kathleen Robinson and her son, Jake, stepped up to volunteer.

Kathleen, who is a parishioner at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in southeast Calgary, said, “I invited two friends from my church to help with delivering bags, and my son helped with pickup. I’m hoping to drum up some more volunteers from St. Paul’s next year. I really feel good about my little part in such a wonderful enterprise. I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

Don Rae, a longtime Calgary Alberta Stake food drive organizer and co-ordinator, called this year’s efforts “a full-city success story.” At the request of the Calgary Food Bank, Don was asked to estimate the number of volunteer hours dedicated to this year’s city-wide food drive. He reported that 21,000 volunteer hours went into making the 2020 drive the most successful to date.

The non-perishable food donations were equivalent to $1,597,000. With an additional $23,301 in cash donations collected, this year’s drive will help the Calgary Food Bank assist families and individuals experiencing food insecurity through the coming winter months.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are encouraged to engage in meaningful service in their communities. Community service opportunities can be shared at, a website where volunteer needs may be posted by organizations and volunteers may search for places to serve in the local community.

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