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Thanksgiving Food Drive stocks food bank shelves

Bob D’Lerma, Church of Latter Day Saints Nanaimo district food drive chairman, left, and Alex Counsell, Loaves and Fishes operations manager, load a pickup truck with bagged food donations. Volunteers are distributing donation bags to homes across Nanaimo this week for the B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive - Chris Bush photo
Bob D’Lerma, Church of Latter Day Saints Nanaimo district food drive chairman, left, and Alex Counsell, Loaves and Fishes operations manager, load a pickup truck with bagged food donations. Volunteers are distributing donation bags to homes across Nanaimo this week for the B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive
— image credit: Chris Bush photo

More than 300 people in Nanaimo rely on Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank for enough food to get them through each week.

The food bank requires a steady stream of donations to meet that need.

The B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive is one of several annual food drives and fundraisers that help keep the pantry filled.

The fourth annual B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive is underway. Beginning today (Sept. 8), volunteers will deliver about 10,000 donation bags provided by Quality Foods to homes throughout Nanaimo.

Homeowners who receive a donation bag and wish to donate are asked to fill the bag with non-perishable food and leave it on their front doorstep before 9:30 a.m.  Sept. 15.

Volunteers will come by to collect the bags.

This is the second year the Thanksgiving Food Drive will be held in Nanaimo.

Last year’s food drive brought in about 4,900 kilograms of food valued at $27,000 and was the most successful donation drive of 2011, said Alex Counsell, Loaves and Fishes operations manager.

“We had to rent two storage lockers to store the food in and we drew from that for about six weeks,” Counsell said.

The food bank distributes about $20,000 worth of food each month.

Bob D’Lerma, Church of Latter Day Saints Nanaimo district food drive chairman, hopes to beat last year’s results and raise $50,000 worth of food from this year’s drive.

“Quality Foods is also doing a buy-a-bag and drop off at all three (Nanaimo) stores,” D’Lerma said.

The Thanksgiving Food Drive started in Calgary in 1997 by Jeffery Jacob through the Church of Latter Day Saints.

“They collected over $1 million worth of food in one day,” D’Lerma said.

The drive has since spread across Canada. The B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive started in Burnaby in 2009 and now happens in 50 communities across B.C.

For information on the food drive or Loaves and Fishes, please visit the Thanksgiving food drive website at www.bctfooddrive.org or the Loaves and Fishes website at http://nanaimoloavesandfishes.org.

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