Aldergrove Food Bank received donations from the Abbotsford Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Mary van Zuuk/Special to The Star)

‘70 banana boxes’ full of items donated to Aldergrove Food Bank

West Abbotsford LDS church members participated in an annual food drive on Saturday, Sept. 26

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spent their Saturday helping out the Aldergrove Food Bank through an annual September drive.

Led by coordinator Rob Koytniak, an estimated 18 families belonging to the West Abbotsford LDS church, rounded up and dropped off 4202 pounds of food.

Koytniak said the drive is part of an annual calling, a church-led effort to give back to the community, which has happened across western Canada for more than 10 years.

Aldergrove Food Bank manager Mary Van Zuuk called the drive a big success.

“We received and sorted about 70 banana boxes of food and our stockroom and store shelves are now fully loaded,” said Van Zuuk. “Our 14 volunteers worked tirelessly alongside the volunteers from the West Abbotsford LDS church, from teenagers to senior citizens, to get the job done.”

Koytniak said the group used to donate to the Abbotsford Food Bank, but found other church drives and fundraisers were overlapping, leaving them with far more donations than others.

“It’s part of a calling, but love to do it and love helping the community,” Koytniak said.

He added that this was the first year the food drive participants used paper bags instead of plastic in an effort to go green.

Van Zuuk said she has seen dozens of new faces in the last few months and is thankful for the generous donations the food bank have received for those that are just recently facing financial hardship.

Everything has changed from the clientele increase to how volunteers dole out food to limit in-person contact.

“Clients are met at the back door and asked for their grocery needs. The list is taken inside where volunteers fill shopping bags with their personal wishes taken into account as much as possible,” Van Zuuk explained, regarding the new COVID-19 protocols. “We take note of whether someone is diabetic, or has allergies, or other dietary needs. We even have birthday cakes for their special celebrations.”

READ MORE: A gift we weren’t expecting: Food Bank surprised by generosity of local business

Though the food drive managed to stock the shelves, Van Zuuk said the food bank is always in need of donations.

A “wish list” of items that the Aldergrove Food Bank is currently in need of includes:

• Canned fruit

• Meat (chicken, ham)

• Canned fish (salmon, tuna, sardines)

• Coffee (ground or instant)

• Tea

• Sugar

• Jam

• Rice / Sidekicks

• Cooking oil

• Cookies / Crackers

• Granola Bars

• Dish soap (Ivory, Dawn, etc.)

• Laundry soap

• Shampoo

• Deodorant (men’s, ladies’)

• Diapers / Pull-ups

• Feminine hygiene products

• Pet food

Van Zukk added that non-perishables, baby items, and even produce grown in people’s backyard are also most welcome.

The food bank is located in the Freshco Mall, beside HUB Insurance, at 27524 Fraser Hwy.

The facility is open Tuesdays, with food distribution taking place from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Donations can be received on Tuesdays, preferably between 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.

”We will break down and re-pack sugar, coffee, tea, etc., into ziplocs, so large sizes are wonderful,” the food bank manager added. “Liquid items cannot be broken down, so it is best to purchase small sizes that can go to more people.”

Van Zuuk also requested that people date-check donations before dropping them off.

“Just as you would not be happy to be given a can of fruit that is way past its best before date, we want to be respectful of our clients and give them the same courtesy,” Van Zuuk explained.

More information can be found online at


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Aldergrove Food Bank received donations from the Abbotsford Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Mary van Zuuk/Special to The Star)

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