Bob McKay (left)

Bob McKay (left)

Event doubles last year’s total

Second annual B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive collects 11,000 lbs locally at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Food piled the floor of a local church gymnasium as Vernon residents proved they are here for neighbours in need.

The second annual B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive last Saturday proved to be highly successful  – collecting 11,000 pounds of food locally at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That’s more than double what the event raised last year (5,000 pounds).

And the generosity isn’t just in Vernon.

The Okanagan collected 67,039 pounds of food and provincially 352,588 pounds of food will stock food bank shelves.

“Again we want to thank the citizens of Vernon for their generosity, and explain that only a small percentage of the city was canvassed this year because of availability of volunteers,” said Bob McKay, food drive director for Vernon. “Next year our goal is to have the whole city canvassed.”

At a time of year when local food bank shelves start to get a little bare, the drive is welcomed by Vernon’s Salvation Army.

Phil Franco, Salvation Army pastor, says the donation will go a long way to feeding those in need.

It is a service that many families and individuals are forced to rely on. And Franco says they are seeing more unique users (who have never accessed the Salvation Army previously), therefore the need is even greater.

“We have 35 new households, most of which are working poor who are just having a hard time making ends meet.”

But if there is one place that is always there to answer calls of need  – it is Vernon.

“Of all the communities I’ve pastored in, never have I seen a community as willing to give as Vernon,” said Franco.

This year’s event, hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was assisted by Save On Foods, the Salvation Army Food Bank and the Vernon Muslim Association.

It included 130 volunteers, but McKay would like to see other local churches get involved next year to allow the event to cover more of the community.

“We also invite groups within the community to take part in the 2013 food drive,” said McKay, who is already planning for next year and can be reached at 250-307-3464.

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