The food drive that took place at the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Saturday is part of a province-wide effort that raised approximately $1.1 million worth of food in 2016. (Neil Corbett/THE NEWS)

Food drive re-stocks Friends in Need

BC Thanksgiving Food Drive garners 8000 pounds of food in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows

The B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive came just in time for the Friends in Need Food Bank that serves Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

Food bank executive director Mary Robson said the food bank was having to buy food to fill the hampers, because donations of non-perishable food were running out.

She is looking forward to full cupboards, again.

“This is where the tide turns,” she said, noting that the B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive, a province-wide effort, is also the local food bank’s largest donation with the exception of the donations by schools during the Christmas season.

The food drive was created by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but has since become an organization of its own.

Local food drive coordinator Jason Nagy estimated the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows food drive garnered 8,040 pounds of food.

That is up from last year’s total of 6,592.

The food drive total since 2011 is 58,608 pounds, said Robson.

Organizers left empty plastic bags with attached instructions on doorsteps, and on Saturday morning went door-to-door recollecting the bags that had been filled with food donations. The cans of food, bags of pasta and tins of cookies were all sorted at the church on 207th Street, expiry dates checked, and boxes of food trucked to the food bank.

“The effort that they put in every year just amazes us,” said a thankful Robson.

The BC Thanksgiving Food Drive began in 2009 in Burnaby to assist the local food bank. It has expanded province wide and is able to assist dozens of community food banks serving more than 50 cities and many thousands of needy individuals and families throughout B.C.

In 2016, over 475,000 lbs of food, valued at approximately $1.1 million, was collected by more than 5,000 volunteers across the province, and was sorted and delivered to community food banks.