Volunteers and staff at the Friends In Need Food Bank are still in shock after a new record was set for this years B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive.
On Saturday, Sept. 26, the charity collected more than 15,000 pounds, (6,800 kilograms), of non-perishable food items from the community to stock their shelves as they enter into the holiday season.
Last year only 4,300 pounds, (1,950 kgs), was collected.
And the previous record to date since 2011 was set in 2015 when 10,400 pounds, (4,717 kgs), was collected.
“It turned out to be a happening that even COVID couldn’t stop,” exclaimed executive director Mary Robson.
“Volunteers kept coming with cars full of bags of non-perishables and the volunteers inside could not believe the continuous flow,” she said.
Organizer of this years event, Jason Nagy, was ecstatic, adding that they even gained 30 new volunteers for their contact list.
And that wasn’t the only good news for the local charity.
The food bank was also one of four non-profit organizations to receive a $15,000 Community Giving Awards from FortisBC.
The award is given out annually to a charity or non-profit project nominated by local government officials from across the province.
Nominated by Pitt Meadows city councillor Gwen O’Connell, the Friends In Need Food Bank is planning to use these new funds to expand the perishable food recovery program and establish a dedicated facility to process larger amounts of perishables.
“We are so honoured to have been nominated for the work we have been doing in not only diverting food from landfills which benefits so many people in need in our community, but also for the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions as a result of our work,” said Robson about the award.
“We are passionate about the program because it is the right thing to do. The $15,000 will be used to fund the expansion of the program to bring more of our major grocers on board,” she added.
For the food drive, a total of 7,000 paper bags were dropped off along 40 routes across Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
“We will be busy sorting for the next two weeks,” said general manager Evan Seal.
Robson wanted to thank everyone who participated in the food drive, “to make us once again proud of the community we serve and live in.”
“It was really overwhelming,” said Robson.
“This event has given the volunteers and staff of the Friends In Need Food Bank a real uplift in spirits,” she added.
The BC Thanksgiving Food Drive was started in 2009 in Burnaby to assist the local food bank. Since then it has expanded, assisting dozens of community food banks serving more than 50 cities across the province.