Volunteers sort the 94,000 pounds of food collected Saturday in the Central Okanagan during the annual B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive.—Facebook/Michael Lavigne

Food drive doubles last year’s donation total but falls short of goal

The B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive in Kelowna and West Kelowna collects 94,000 pounds of food.

It did not meet the lofty goal set by the Central Okanagan Food Bank but last weekend’s’ B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive in Kelowna and West Kelowna did collect more than double the amount of food normally donated during the annual event.

Organizers say 94,000 pounds of food were collected from residents of the two cities Saturday, nearly double the 45,000 pounds normally collected. But the total fell short of the 150,000 pounds sought by the food bank.

Still, organizers said they were very pleased with the total.

“I’ve been a B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive volunteer for seven years, but as I watched the amount of food donations arrive at the food bank, I knew that I was experiencing something special,” said volunteer and lead organizer Debbie Morris.

This year, as a result of the flooding in late spring and early summer and the wildfire that followed, food bank executive director Lenetta Parry said donations were down by 50 per cent. So the food bank was relying on the B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive—one of the biggest food drives of the year—to help re-stock its shelves.

On Saturday, an army of 500 volunteers spread out across the two cities and went door to door, collecting bags with food donations inside. Earlier in the week, the bags had been distributed to as many homes in Kelowna and West Kelowna as possible.

This year, there were also drop-off sites for the food drive set at Save-On-Foods and Costco so that people living in condominiums and apartment buildings, as well as gated communities, could participate.

And it appears to have paid off.

“Although I’m dead tired, my feet hurt and I could use a warm bath, my heart is just swelling with good feelings”, said Kelowna volunteer organizer Paige Knauf after the food was delivered and sorted at the food bank’s new Enterprise Way depot in Kelowna.

The B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive is a province-wide drive that collects food donations for local food banks each September.

All donations stay in the communities where they are made.

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