For the 10th year, Edmonton area congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have joined with their communities to help fill the shelves at their community food banks.
Edmonton Latter-day Saint members began by covering the Millwoods part of the city in 2009 when Bishop John McQuay, while he was a school teacher, noticed that some of his students were coming to school hungry. He recruited his congregation as well as others in the immediate area to participate in a two-fold campaign. First, Church members delivered notices to every home in the area explaining that on the following Saturday they would return to pick up any non-perishable food donations left on any doorstep. They would then deliver the donations to Edmonton’s food bank.
The same pattern has been followed every year since, with the project becoming known as the “Edmonton Food Drive.” This year’s campaign saw over a quarter million pounds of food collected throughout Edmonton. For example, the Galovan family of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was among the thousands of volunteers who took part in collecting community donations.
President Jamie Johnson of the Edmonton Riverbend Alberta Stake said, “It is a joy to participate in this community initiative to help provide for the poor and needy. We are grateful for the generosity of the citizens of Edmonton, especially during this time of year when we recognize so many blessings. Helping to feed the hungry is fundamental to living the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
In addition, more than 110 thousand pounds of food were collected by members of the Church in other communities, including Strathcona County, Morinville, Red Deer, Slave Lake, Lloydminster, Camrose, Tofield, Beaumont, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, Cherry Grove, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Vermilion.
“It is great to see the community come together to help those in need. We thank everyone who contributed to making the Edmonton Food Drive such a success,” says the food bank’s executive director, Marjorie Bencz. “We are thankful for the commitment of the volunteers and the donations from the community so we can continue to help Edmontonians in need — thank you.”
Many young adults helped load and unload the semi trucks with dontations for Edmonton’s food bank, including Riley Hudson of the Whitemud Creek Young Single Adult Ward.
Local Church public affairs spokeswoman Chantelle McMullin added, “While the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were glad to organize this drive and provide the approximately 4,000 volunteers, the people who donated the food are the real heroes. Their generosity was overwhelming.”
At the October 2018 General Conference, President Henry B. Eyring explained why helping and serving others is so important: “Brothers and sister, the Lord has opportunities near you to feel and to share his love. You can pray with confidence for the Lord to lead you to love someone for Him. He answers the prayers of meek volunteers like you. You will feel the love of God for you and for the person you serve for Him. As you help children of God in their troubles, your own troubles will seem lighter. Your faith and your hope will be strengthened” (Ensign, November, 2018).