Langley donations more than triple in annual Thanksgiving food drive

Latter-Day Saints church hosted a family festival to thank volunteers in door-to-door collection.

Donations more than tripled in the BC Thanksgiving Food Drive held in town this past weekend.

The donations exceeded all expectations, said the drive’s new community coordinator Scott Friesen.

That translated to 32,000 pounds of non-perishable food collected from doorsteps in Langley and Cloverdale on Saturday, he explained.

“We’re very grateful for the outpouring of community support,” Friesen said.

The week before, a team of volunteers blanketed parts of the community, distributing 20,000 bags and requesting residents to fill them with much needed food items.

Numbers are still being finalized, but he estimated that about 20 per cent of the households that received bags ultimately contributed.

Friesen, who started volunteering through his church a few years ago, said he and his three sons still get “giddy” when they drive through the community on pickup day, keeping an eye peeled for loaded bags placed out on people’s doorsteps.

The key to its success, he said, is making it as convenient as possible for homeowners to give by enabling them to donate on their doorstep.

The community really came through this year, he said, noting donations were at least three times the amount collected last year… “that’s a significant increase.”

Friesen credited good weather with helping contribute to the volume of donations. But, he especially credited more sponsors, more bag deliveries, and more volunteers (including many teams from service-based agencies such as Big Brothers, Rotary, and the Boys & Girls Club) with helping boost the collection numbers, too.

As well, donation boxes were also added this year in a number of offices and retail stores, where sponsors collected donations from their staff, as well as the public.

This was the ninth year for the BC Thanksgiving Food Drive, which was started in Burnaby and has since expanded to more than 50 communities in the province.

In Langley, Friesen confirmed that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints played a key role in the local drive since it started here four years ago.

“We did very well,” he said, noting that 400 to 500 volunteers were involved in this year’s campaign to feed the hungry in their hometown.

Donations were compiled in the parking lot of his church on Saturday, in conjunction with a family-oriented festival for participants.

BC Thanksgiving Food Drive is more of an event, he said, than an organization, charity, or agency. But the program is coordinated with the provincial food bank association, and donations distributed to food banks in the community where donations are collected.

In the case of the local food drive, Friesen said donations will be divided “pretty much equally” between the two local food banks, the Langley Food Bank and the Sources Langley Food Bank.

READ PREVIOUS STORY: Food drive aids Langley charities

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