The BC Thanksgiving Food Drive will soon be arriving on Langley doorsteps.
The massive food drive is held annually throughout the province, as volunteers organize to collect food for their local food banks. In 2017, more than half a million pounds of food was collected by more than 5,000 volunteers across B.C.
Food banks are in need at this time of year, explained organizer Scott Friesen. The main reason the province-wide initiative began in 2009 was to support local food banks before the Christmas season, when food drives are typically held.
“The organization felt that [we] should put our efforts on Thanksgiving, — or the fall, whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not — to make sure that there’s enough food at that time of year,” he said.
The Langley Food Bank, he explained, actually acquires extra storage space at this time of year, because otherwise “they can’t contain all of the donations” that are given through the BC Thanksgiving Food Drive.
The collection effort is always centred around mid-September, and the food “takes them past Christmas. It keeps them full for some time,” he said.
Doorstep collection will expand this year to reach more homes than ever before. Friesen said that they expect to cover 70 per cent of Cloverdale and Langley homes to collect donations for the Langley Food Bank and the White Rock / South Surrey Sources Food Bank. (There will be fundraisers throughout Surrey that support the Surrey Food Bank as well.)
Last year, the food drive collected 32,000 pounds of food from Cloverdale and Langley residents.
Cloverdale’s Gurudwara Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib was a big part of that effort. The Sikh temple collected 3,000 pounds of food.
“We didn’t know how much we supposed to take over there,” said Paramjeet S. Vasir, President of the Guru Teg Bahadur Welfare Society, a registered charity which runs the temple.
Vasir explained that because the donation was being given on behalf of the entire temple, they wanted to make sure it was enough.
“We were not sure if we were taking enough or not. But when we reached there, we [found out we were] okay.”
“They initially showed up with a trailer,” Friesen remembered. “All of the volunteers were so excited as they were unloading. And then after we’re finished unloading they said, ‘Well, what else do you need? Could you use some more rice and some other things?’ And we couldn’t believe it. Within an hour they were back, with another trailer full of food.”
Vasir is hopeful that the Gurudwara will raise a similar amount this year.
The food drive’s goal is to make donating as easy as possible, said Friesen. Collection bags will be dropped off on doorsteps from Monday, Sept. 10 to Wednesday, Sept. 13. If residents wish to make a donation, they can fill their collection bag and place it on their doorstep within view of the street before 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15.
The Langley Food Bank’s wish list includes canned meats and fish, canned fruits and vegetables, canned stews, rice and pasta, diapers, baby food formula and cereal, and sandwich spreads such as jam or peanut butter.
If your home does not receive a collection bag, but you wish to donate, you can drive down to the main collection point at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Langley at 20370 82 Avenue. There will be bouncy castles, pony rides, kids activities and food available, including pakoras from Cloverdale’s Gurudwara.
For more information on the BC Thanksgiving Food Drive, visit bctfooddrive.org.