London Food Bank fall campaign haul beats 2017
Once again, local residents came through for the London Food Bank.
A final push from the community during the Thanksgiving weekend helped the local organization reach 31,000 kilograms of donations, surpassing the 30,700 kg in donations it collected during last year’s fall drive.
Last minute donations from a number of community groups, which conducted their own mini drives, made the difference this year, said food bank co-director Glen Pearson.
“People tend to wait until the last few days of the drive (to donate) . . . and there tends to be a surge at the end, but we were so behind on this one that we thought that even with the general public’s surge we might just not make it this year,” he said.
“We weren’t expecting what we saw over the weekend, but that’s what really boosted us.”
Surpassing last year’s numbers wasn’t the only positive news coming out the fall’s food drive.
Along with the increase in food donations, Pearson said they also welcomed a surge in money donated to purchase fresh food.
Food bank officials stressed the importance of fresh produce as they launched the annual Thanksgiving drive in September.
Earlier this year, the food bank reached a milestone, with half the food it was receiving and distributing being perishable.
Yet, this year’s results were somewhat unexpected, Pearson said.
“We had never had that before in 32 years, but it really took off this time,” he said. “It shows the public is just in line with what needs to be done in every community about fresh food and nutrition.”
Pearson said the food bank doesn’t have a system in place to measure monetary donations toward fresh food, but it is something they will be looking at monitoring during the next food drive.
The increase in donations comes at a time when the bank is experiencing higher demand for its services.
Pearson said during the first nine months of 2018, the food bank has helped about 3,400 families a month. They expect those numbers, which are already up two per cent compared to this time last year, to go up.
“The generosity is never in question in London,” he said. “We have never had a time when we have gone without it as a food bank.”
Ashley Williams and Jessica Boudreault, both of Fanshawe College’s social services program, help to unpack and sort donations at the London Food Bank Friday. A last minute influx of donations helped push the Thanksgiving Day food drive over last year’s total.