The shelves of the Salvation Army Grande Prairie Food Bank will be filled for the next several months. That’s thanks to a record number of volunteers collecting a record amount of donations during the Rotary Community Food Bank Drive Tuesday night.
Coordinator Jerry Napier says more than 50 tons was brought in by more than 800 volunteers on 146 routes. That’s the most routes they’ve ever been able to run, despite being short by about 250 people just days before the event. Previously, the record for donations was 46.5 tons.
“This is a last minute town; we know that,” Napier admits, “so we were getting people signing up right up until [Tuesday] morning and we actually filled all our routes, so we did get the number of volunteers that we actually wanted.”
The food drive is put on every year and will be essential in helping the Sally Anne fill what’s expected to be a demand for more than 4,000 hampers this holiday season. Napier says it’s believed to be the largest food bank drive of its kind in Canada.
“We know of no other food bank that does that type of drive and brings in 50 tons of food in three hours in one evening. We haven’t found anything that can dispute that, so we lay claim to that title.”
Despite recruiting a full slate, volunteers weren’t able to make it to every home in Grande Prairie. Anyone who was missed, or who would still like to donate can do so by dropping off their non-perishable food, personal hygiene items, and things for babies at any city fire department, The Licence Centre on 116 Avenue, or the Salvation Army Food Bank directly.
“This is not only for the soup kitchen but for people who are just struggling and they have to make that decision to either pay the rent or buy food and we don’t want them to have to be in that situation,” Napier urges.
Napier thanks the entire community for their efforts and donations. He says the food bank should be able to use them through February 2019.