Donations are pouring in for the annual Thanksgiving Food and Clothing Drive put on by Southland Church in Steinbach.
Grace Hiebert co-coordinates the event. She says throughout the year they receive donations of food, clothing, household goods and toys. Then, a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, two large trailers are set up in the Church parking lot. These trailers provide one last opportunity for anyone wishing to dropoff a donation.
Hiebert says the trailers will be moved to the back of the Church Tuesday evening and then the unloading can begin. Setup inside the Church will happen on Wednesday and Thursday, with the event taking place on Friday.
If recent history is any indication, there should be more than 2,500 hundred people coming to the Church on Friday seeking assistance. Hiebert says that is how many people they had last year and each year they host this event they get more traffic than the year before.
Last year, 27,000 pounds of clothing and household goods were donated. Hiebert says that is enough to fill more than 100 tables with clothing 18 inches deep, and still have boxes of clothes left over for restocking. The Church also offers dishes, furniture, toys, books, jewelry and thousands of shoes and boots.
Hiebert says Friday's event runs from 9 am to 7 pm. Yet, she says people will start lining up already by 6 am. She notes last year more than 1,000 people came in the first half hour. Hiebert says bedding, toys and household goods usually go quickest. Last year they saw people from as far away as Thompson and The Pas.
Hiebert notes many people question why Southland does this, especially because you don't need to be involved at Southland in order to benefit on Friday.
"Because we love God and we love people," is Hiebert's response. "God tells us over and over that, we are to love the orphans and the people that don't have and the hurting and the broken."
Hiebert has a few reminders for those coming out on Friday. She says each family is allowed to fill one garbage bag with clothing and is allowed one hamper. Last year approximately 1,500 hampers were distributed.
According to Hiebert, it takes the help of more than 1,000 volunteers to pull off this event.