Rekindled private connections driving London Meals Financial institution’s Spring Drive

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Volunteers Benjamin Booth, 14, left, and Ayden King, 13, sort donations at the London Food Bank (Derek Ruttan/The London Free Press)

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Food donations have skyrocketed and volunteers have returned, bringing a renewed sense of connection to London’s annual spring food drive after several years of mostly virtual fundraising.

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It’s the final weekend for the 10-day campaign – usually the most fruitful stretch – to stock shelves and tills at the London Food Bank as needs continue to grow across the city.

Over the past year, cash donations have been far more common than canned goods or perishable foods as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to rage. Well, that’s shifting.

“TThere’s a certain closeness and education here when you actually go out and get the food. There is an empathy and learn if you take the extra Stepso for us the food has always been important.” Jane Roy, co-director of the London Food Bank, said.

“TThis is a hybrid food drive, so people are going back to cooking donations, mhow was great.”

More than 46,000 pounds (21,000 kilograms) have been donated to date, dwarfing the 2021 donations at this point in the campaign. This includes 27,317 pounds of groceries and $49,134 in cash donations, which will be converted into food equivalents of 18,898 pounds.

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Last year, the spring food drive had received £42,243 at this point in the campaign, with a much heavier emphasis on cash donations – US$73,462, the equivalent of £28,255 of food.

“If she watch the stress we are all under rising food prices, rising transportation costsJust cost of living has increased so much over lbranch year, so the fact that people the fact that we’ve donated more this year is tremendous,” said Roy.

“I think it speaks to the fact that people want to take care of others city, and that’s great.”

The food bank saw its second highest number of customers in March, helping 3,771 families, down from just 3,870 families in January 2014.

Volunteers were at the food bank on Good Friday to sort through donated items and make food baskets – another element of the annual drive, which has been reduced over the past two years due to pandemic public health regulations, Roy added. “It’s the key to the whole operation.”

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About a third of donations to the Easter food drive are typically received over the last weekend, Roy said.

Staples like rice, soup and pasta are important, but Roy encourages people to donate anything they would normally buy for their own fridges and pantries. Cash donations are used to purchase any needed items that have not been donated, as well as perishable items such as eggs and milk with a shorter shelf life.

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When: April 8-18, 2022

Donate: Food donations are accepted at major grocery stores but not at London fire stations. Financial contributions can be made online at www.londonfoodbank.ca

Food requirements: Non-perishable foods include peanut butter, rice, baby food, soup, canned tomatoes with no added salt, juice, canned meat and fish, pasta and pasta sauce, powdered milk, healthy cereal and crackers.

Non-Food Wishlist: Items such as diapers, toothpaste, toilet paper and laundry detergent.

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