News Story

Thousands of Canadians Volunteer for National Day of Service

Throughout Canada, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have joined their neighbours, service groups and other organizations to meet the needs of their communities by marking Canada’s National Day of Service.

In 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper requested that citizens observe a National Day of Service and assist in their communities by participating in service projects in remembrance of the tragic events of 9/11. “I hope that this National Day of Service … will inspire Canadians to once more show the same kind of compassion to strangers in need, by engaging on that day in charitable activities, fundraisers and community service for worthy causes across the country,” the prime minister said. “It is a fitting way to … turn an infamous date into a day of hope marked by a communal outpouring of warmth and generosity.”

Hundreds of thousands of volunteers from community and faith-based organizations strengthened their communities and brought relief to many through an unprecedented single day of service across the country. Projects included large-scale food drives, blood drives, extensive work on parks and trails, cleanup of schools and cemeteries, appreciation acknowledgement of emergency medical service personnel, clothes drives and hospital visits.

Thousands of hours were volunteered as Latter-day Saint individuals and families — from toddlers to grandparents — contributed time, energy and resources to improve their local Canadian communities.

British Columbia

The B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive (BCTFD) project is a province-wide initiative that helps feed thousands who rely on food banks for their basic nutritional needs. Volunteers partnered with regional food banks to collect food in more than 40 communities during five days in September 2013. Over 400,000 pounds of goods are expected to be collected across the province, ensuring that the food banks will be well stocked for the coming weeks.

“The day of service has allowed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints along with others to learn about and understand the broader needs of the communities that we live in,” says Mike Weston, a local Church leader in Victoria. “Giving service through the BCTFD has benefited both those who desperately need understanding and generosity as well as those of us who have enough, who desperately need to understand how giving a little helps a lot.”


Latter-day Saints in the Calgary and Edmonton areas will also be collecting food door to door in city-wide food drives for their cities’ food banks. After devastating floods in Alberta this past summer, the Calgary Inter-faith Food Bank expects a greater demand for emergency hampers as people affected by the disaster turn to the food bank due to additional financial stress during the rebuilding process. Organizers say, “That is why we are here, to support individuals and families during a time of crisis.”

Thousands of volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are mobilized to participate in this annual food drive, the largest in the country, collecting half a million pounds of food from the city of Calgary in just one day.


Members of the Church in Winnipeg and surrounding areas worked with the community to gather a record-breaking haul of over 100,000 pounds of nonperishable items in support of Winnipeg Harvest. This annual effort fills the shelves of Manitoba’s needy during the summer months  a time when regular donations are at their lowest in the year.


Members of the Church in Ontario participated in a variety of service projects within their local communities. Park and cemetery cleanup was completed in Newmarket, Kingston and Pickering, and trees were planted in Toronto. A blood drive was held in Sudbury, and administrative support for a community event was given in Barrie. In the beginning of October, Mormons in the Ottawa area will be supporting the annual Thanks for Giving Food Drive by volunteering at many of the participating 18 local supermarkets. This food drive benefits the Ottawa Food Bank.

Atlantic Provinces

Premier Darrell Dexter joined with members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to help clean up roads in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Political candidates Deborah Stover and Tony Ince also helped at the event. In Greenwood, Latter-day Saints visited the Soldiers Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and spent time cleaning up the Veterans Memorial Hospital.

Food drives were completed in Truro and Yarmouth, and a used clothing drive was held in Halifax. Service was rendered at a new municipal park in Sackville, and meals were served and visits offered to seniors living in Sydney and Halifax. In Amherst, members of the Church will provide traffic control for a half marathon sponsored by the YMCA. The funds from the race will go to assist needy children.

Additionally, youth from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be running a food drive in Montague, Prince Edward Island, on 21 September 2013.


On 14 September 2013, hundreds of volunteers in LaSalle, Quebec, participated in a food drive organized by the Church, the HOPE Food Bank and the NDG Food Depot. Volunteers included students from local high schools, members from the local Knights of Columbus and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. LaSalle mayor, Manon Barbe, and Members of Parliament Hélène LeBlanc and Dr. Marc Garneau also participated in the event.

Dr. Garneau said, “We all have needs, but when we think about others, that they too have needs, [we come together as a community] and can make a difference.”

Service is one of the core values for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Mormon Helping Hands program was officially established in 1998 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since then, hundreds of thousands of volunteers have donated millions of hours of service to their communities in many parts of the world.

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