June 16, 2020, 7:15 a.m.
The COVID-19 pandemic did little to deter local residents from helping their fellow Londoners by donating to a summer food drive.
The 24th annual London Cares Curb Hunger Promotion for the London Food Bank ran from June 3rd to 13th and featured a range of donation opportunities including online financial donations, placing food in containers at participating grocery stores and growing fresh Groceries in a garden.
Glen Pearson, co-executive director of the London Food Bank, said the ongoing pandemic made organizers unsure what to expect. However, Londoners helped make 2020 the most successful year for the food drive since 2012, with nearly £ 38,000 of food donated and nearly $ 70,000 in financial donations.
“[COVID-19] is a once in a generation event and what happened was that London gave like never before, ”said Pearson. “It really shows how good citizens are, how good companies are, if they really want to help right now … I never expected to see that amount. It makes me love my community. It’s a great thing. “
A major change to this year’s London Cares drive was that no donations were picked up from the curb on garbage and recycling pick-up days.
Pearson said the decision to focus on other more convenient donation methods was likely a factor in the Food Drive’s success this year.
“We were delightfully surprised,” he said. “More and more people were using a grocery store [drop off bins] or they planted a variety of vegetables in their backyard. “
Pearson said the number of people currently seeking the food bank’s help has decreased significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic began. He attributed the decline to ongoing government aid programs that have helped many people across the country, including those who are unemployed. However, he anticipates an influx of people in need as soon as these aid programs are no longer available.
“Many of the people I spoke to will not go back to work because of their place [of work] is closed. I think our numbers will go up once government incentives are gone, ”Pearson said.