The B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive is back.
The annual event on Sept. 25 supports food banks across the Lower Mainland.
“It’s an exciting program,” said Susan Terry, one of the organizers. “We started it back in 2008, in Burnaby, with just a small group of people. It’s a great opportunity to give back to those that are struggling.”
Terry said the program has grown since it was started by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is now a non-denominational event involving many other groups.
In 2020, they collected 500,000 pounds of food and this year Terry said the goal is to collect 600,000 pounds of food.
“The program is run entirely with volunteers with corporate and personal donations,” she said. “There are no administrative costs, the food banks of B.C. receive the entire benefit.”
Those food banks include: Share Family & Community Services in Port Moody, Greater Vancouver Food Bank in Burnaby, Richmond Food Bank, South Delta Food Bank, Sources White Rock/South Surrey Food Bank, Sources Langley Food Bank, Friends In Need Food Bank in Maple Ridge, St. Joseph’s Food Bank in Mission, and Archway Abbotsford Food Bank.
She added that many of the food banks have to rent extra space just to store the donations.
“It’s the single biggest day of donations for the food banks we serve. It’s a very successful program and it helps the food banks to be able to give out food until the end of the year.”
Terry said the B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive has partnered with Save-On-Foods. For customers who wish to donate at Save-Ons, they’ll be able to give cash at the till, or drop off food in donation boxes.
She said many local businesses in the communities are also involved in supporting the food drive.
But she noted the lion’s share of donations are received through “bag drop-offs and pick-ups” at homes across the Lower Mainland.
“This starts about Sept. 20,” she explained. “People from our congregations get different routes and they drive around and put bags at peoples doors. Then on (Sept. 25) they go back and pick up all the food.”
This all get dropped off at local Mormon churches to get packed and sorted then dropped off at local food banks after that.
On Sept. 25, Terry said both Langley mayors will be at their Langley church (20370 82nd Ave.) and Councillor Linda Annis will be at their Surrey church (6270 126th St.) to help support the donation effort.
Terry said if anyone wants to give directly Sept. 25, they can visit either their Surrey or Langley church between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. to donate, or they can visit bctfooddrive.org to make a cash donation.
Terry also said if anyone wants to volunteer, they can visit justserve.org and search for their local community.