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A parade of aid for Aldergrove food bank and Ishtar

Even held in place of annual Christmas lights parade, results in record response
Jim Calamunce, executive director of the Aldergrove Food Bank, said the donations on Saturday, Dec. 12, set a record for single-day contributions (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

One volunteer, surveying the rapidly-rising piles of food items in the Aldergrove Food Bank on Saturday, Dec. 12, summed it up.

“We’re getting tons,” she said.

It appeared a record amount of contributions landed in just four hours, although an exact measurement wasn’t available.

Food bank executive director Jim Calamunce, who is in charge of both the Langley and Aldergrove food banks, said some point during the four return trips he made to collect donations, it occurred to him that he should have brought his scales.

But even without a measurement by weight, it was clear by the end of the day, from the piles that filled the rows of tables in the food bank sorting area, that more people had contributed more supplies in one day than the food bank had ever received before.

“It was very, very generous,” Calamunce told the Langley Advance Times., praising the generosity of the community members who took part.

“We are just so appreciative,” Calamunce declared.

“We really thank them. Our hearts are full of gratitude.”

READ ALSO: ‘A gift we weren’t expecting’: Aldergrove Food Bank manager surprised by generosity of local business

The event in the Legion parking lot, and the food bank as well, was put together in a matter of five days, one of the organizers, Karen Long, said.

“This is the time of year and this day of the year is is when we usually have our Christmas light-up parade,” Long explained.

“So we decided to create a drive-through event.”

Instead of the parade passing by viewers, the donors drove past the floats and displays, with participants that included the BC Farm Museum and the Elks, Christmas carols, Santa and Mrs Claus, and a living Nativity scene.

“Our community has come together. That’s just what Aldergrove does,” Long said proudly.

“Aldergrove just comes together when there is a need.”

READ ALSO: Local man covers first two months rent for Aldergrove food bank in new digs

Donations of food items were collected from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Legion parking lot for the Aldergrove Food Bank, and new, unwrapped toys were accepted for the families supported by Ishtar Women’s Resource Society

There was a reminder of what Christmas was really about, courtesy of the Shilton family.

Dad Mike, son Josh, mom Niki and son Sam, who are members of the Living Waters Church in Fort Langley were a living Nativity scene, with dad as Joseph and mom as Mary.

“I guess I’m a shepherd,” Sam grinned, as they posed for the Langley Advance Times.

If people want to make more donations directly to the Aldergrove food bank, at its new home in the Countryside Shopping Centre on Fraser Highway at 27524 Fraser Hwy., they can do it on Tuesdays between 11:30 am and 2 p.m. ,which is when the bank opens its door to clients.

“We don’t have any full-time staff [in Aldergrove] like we do in Langley,” Calamunce explained.

Those in Aldergrove looking to sign up for assistance can call 604-857-1671.

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Volunteers sorted a record amount of donations on Saturday, Dec. 12, at the Aldergrove Food Bank (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Santa and Mrs. Clause greeted donors during the Saturday, Dec. 12, afternoon event that generated a record amount of same-day contributions top the Aldergrove Food Bank (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
A reminder of what Christmas is really about, courtesy of the Shilton family. Dad Mike (L), son Josh, mom Niki and son Sam were a living nativity scene at the Langley Legion on Saturday, Dec. 12, during a one-day donation drive that set a record at the Aldergrove Food Bank (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Best recognized for my resemblance to St. Nick, I’m the guy you’ll often see out at community events and happenings around town.
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