With Friday kicking off the Thanksgiving weekend, the Lloydminster and District Co-op is looking to fill some bellies around the community and Squash Hunger.

The local Co-op has teamed up with the Lloydminster RCMP and 106.1 The Goat for the food bank drive, which seeks to provide food and monetary donations to the local Salvation Army Chapter. This chapter will then distribute it to the community.

Patrons of the Co-op, any time on October 8th, can ask at the till to provide a donation to Squash Hunger or pick out needed non-perishable food items themselves.

Marketing and Communications Manager Kristine Knourek says they wanted to do this event with this team again after the success of Operation HOP, an Easter food bank drive earlier this year.

“Over $4,000 was raised in one day for the Salvation Army, which was absolutely phenomenal. Our community is so generous and the pandemic actually can’t stop that. So, we’re hoping to raise that much, if not more during Squash Hunger and we know we can do it through the support of our generous community.

Beyond the Thanksgiving weekend, the event will have further-reaching impacts this time of year for the Salvation Army.

Major Bond Jennings of the Lloydminster Salvation Army says this time of year normal brings increased demand for their services, and this last year especially.

“We’re preparing for Christmas, the need is increasing, and of course COVID hasn’t gone away. So the [in] the last few months, needs have increased for us. We’ve had full appointment schedules for our food bank, and there doesn’t seem to be any sign things are slowing down.”

The local RCMP detachment will be on hand as well with their vehicles to help promote giving to Squash Hunger. Constable Melanie Flynn says even though COVID has prevented them from doing a “stuff the cruiser” style event, they still wanted to be there to support the cause.

“This time, it is tough to have that in-person interaction in a positive manner due to COVID and its restrictions, but it’s still important for us to partner with our community in these positive ways.”

The Lloydminster and District Co-op will be open from 9 AM to 9 PM on Friday, October 8th.