Five years ago, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints took it upon themselves to fill a need they saw in the community. The food drive they provided was a big help to the Salvation Army, who runs the food bank here in Lloydminster.
This time around they set a record that exceeded their expectations. In just four hours, from start to finish, the amount of food raised weighed in at 5,927.5 pounds. This total beat the old record by 1,900 pounds.
“That’s just wonderful,” said Darius Jensen, organizer of the drive. “The fact that we can help the Salvation Army food bank, and we can help the community by filling the Salvation Army shelving is wonderful. That we had approximately 1,500 pounds more than last year.“He said that alone says a lot about this community.
About 100 people were in the volunteer force raised by the Latter-Day Saints who were on the streets and gathering all the donated food. Once they arrived with their car trunks full, many became volunteers in the sorting area.
One big table was set up in the main hall where donations were deposited. The incoming food needed to be checked for condition and expiration dates. By law, The Salvation Army cannot accept food or other items past their expiry dates.
It is unfortunate that several hundred pounds of expired food needed to be checked, put aside and thrown away. Doing all that takes away from the work of sorting and also creates a large amount of trash that needs to be discarded.
Getting ready for this day, a map was divided into sections and people were given territories where they were to pick up the food. Effectively, not including the month long planning, all the food was picked up, gathered, checked and sorted, stored and the work area cleaned up in less than four hours. A testament to both the group’s determination to help, and the generosity shown by the community.
Jensen’s final words on this year’s food drive are, “I would like to thank the citizens of Lloyd- minster for their generosity.”
Shannon Weinberger, in charge of the food bank, had a favourite expression as the food kept coming in, it was simply, “Wow,” recognizing the effort of sending out flyers to all the house-holds in the community the week before pick-up Saturday, Sept. 27.
“Between the church and the city, we have totally filled our storage area in a day, which is wonderful,” she said. “A lot of people were here, between the ones picking up and dropping off and the ones who did the sort, and everybody that put it all away, it’s been awesome.”
Just who is it that participated, is a question that Weinberger easily answered, “We had everyone from pre-schoolers all the way up to seniors helping today.”
When asked what that says about the community, Weinberger said, “Lloyd is amazingly giving and you see it in every area. This is another example of not just giving, but giving their time and their energy as well.”
There is also a food drive currently going on with Lloydminster Co-op, partnered with Farm Credit Canada and that will be completed at the end of October. Then the Salvation Army gets ready for Christmas.
Their work never stops, because the need for food never stops.