Cars and vans filled with bags of food from last year's drive. (Mary Robson/Special to The News)

Biggest food drive for Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge to take place this week

BC Thanksgiving Food Drive will also see Save-On Foods participate for the first time

One of the largest food drives for the communities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, is happening this week through the BC Thanksgiving Food Drive.

The annual event, which was started in 2008 by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will take place on Sept. 25, to support local food banks across the Lower Mainland, including Friend in Need food bank which serves Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, said executive director, Mary Robson.

“It is so well-organized and it is amazing to watch each year. Last year, in the year of COVID, the drive managed to raise 15,680 lbs. of food. It was a record year; it was amazing,” said Robson, adding that the coordinator for the event, Jason Nagy, has been great for the community.

“We help, Jason basically runs the entire event and he is so organized,” she said.

Nagy has put together a total of around 51 volunteers this year, a number he said he tried to keep growing with every passing year. The volunteers will be canvassing this week, dropping off bags and will collect the bags on Saturday. They will then bring all the bags to the collection centre, where they will be sorted and loaded on to trucks for the food bank.

“It is a great activity for all ages I feel and it is a lot of fun. When you go back to collect bags, it almost feels like Christmas and then to see all the bags coming in, it is very over whelming,” said Nagy.

Nagy has a total of 120 routes that he could cover in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows with enough volunteers but he is able to cover only a third of those routes.

ALSO READ: New manager at Friends in Need Food Bank

“I am hoping more people participate each year so we can cover more houses,” he said.

Food Bank’s Robson echoed the sentiment and said that while all the donations coming in feels great, she wanted to remind donors participating in the BC Thanksgiving Food Drive to check the date of their products before donating.

“This food drive provides a huge amount of food for our clients and other organizations dealing with food insecurity in our communities, but it is very disheartening for our volunteers when they have to throw away food because it has expired. Last year was a record year 15,680 lbs. We hope the community is as generous this year,” she said.

This year, the food drive has partnered with Save-On Foods and any customers who would want to donate at Save-On, can do so either by giving cash at the till, or by dropping off food in donation boxes.

ALSO READ: National strategy calls on Canada to address Inuit food security crisis

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Coordinator Jason Nagy, at the collection centre from last year’s drive. (Mary Robson/Special to The News)

Coordinator Jason Nagy, at the collection centre from last year’s drive. (Mary Robson/Special to The News)

Save On Foods is also partnering in this year's food drive. (Mary Robson/Special to The News)