An anomaly occurred for the Thanksgiving Food Drive through Hope Community Services, which was a huge success this past week, as Hope broke food bank records. Things were looking bleak on the shelves of the downtown location, but with the help of a missionary couple from Calgary who stepped in and lent a hand, a ripple effect was sparked in the community that will put food in mouths and melt hearts.
“We were given the opportunity to help out at the food bank and that is where we learned of the tremendous need and the bare shelves,” said volunteer and missionary from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Leslie Shaughnessy, who volunteered with her husband Gary as part of a mission trip the two started in May.
“It was heart-breaking and so sad to see the empty shelves, knowing that people were coming to get help and there was no food.”
With a strategy in mind and a little help from maps printed at District Hall, the couple mobilized troops and set out to fill the empty shelves.
“We needed to do something — so a seed of Hope was planted and we started the process of getting organized,” she said. “I put a note on the Hope Bulletin Facebook Page, and that’s when we truly found out what kind of people call Hope home — there was an outpouring of offers to help with the drive; so, with the logistics, maps, bags donated from Coopers and a group of youth to attach all 3,000 flyers to the bags, we began to see the spirit of the people shine.”
The entire community of Hope stepped up in a combined effort that resulted in the culmination of 8000 pounds of food donations and $2,000 in monetary contributions. The Shaughnessy’s plan to unite different neighbourhoods, conscript the scouts, the schools, the Fire Department, their Church and anybody with an extra pair of hands was wildly successful. The couple anticipated 20 per cent of their ideal quota and it was exceeded at an astounding 50 per cent. Mounds of bags crowded the 3rd avenue food bank location, as the donations kept pouring in.
“Keeping up with everything has been a challenge,” said Shaughnessy of the inpouring of goods and volunteer services.
Dedicated volunteers of all ages, tunneled relentlessly through piles upon piles of cans and goodies, pet food, tea and coffee to get the job done, in fact, they were still sorting late Thursday evening.
“We are ecstatic —it’s been heart warming to see,” said Hope Community Services Executive Director,” Michele Thornhill.