Establishing itself as the longest running partnership of its kind in the country, the London Cares Curb Hunger campaign is back for its 25th year.
The annual campaign, which raises awareness of the London Food Bank and the need for support during the summer months, helps more than 25,000 people who rely on the food back.
“This started as a blue box pickup effort,” said Glen Pearson, co-director of the London Food Bank, when reflecting on 25 years of this drive. “It’s morphed into doing different things and as the food bank began to put the emphasis on fresh food seven years ago, it started moving more toward that dimension … and now there’s a greenhouse movement across the city.”
“The generosity and compassion of our community helps feed thousands of Londoners each year through this important partnership with the London Food Bank,” said Mayor Ed Holder, adding that during difficult times, this campaign helps ensure all Londoners have access to food.
Londoners are being encouraged to participate in a number of ways including, making a monetary donation to the food bank, donating non-perishable items that can be dropped off at the food back or in bins at participating grocery stores, or signing up to plant and grow a row of produce either in their backyard or at a community garden.
Pandemic ‘revolutionized’ how food bank operates, co-director says
Pearson said the generosity of Londoners during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has allowed the food bank to launch long-sought-out projects, including a city-wide food distribution system that allows people to access food hampers closer to home, in order to address food insecurity.
“We’ve always said that there’s enough food in the city to help people that are hungry, so the amount of food is never the issue. The distribution was,” Pearson said. “What happened was something pretty awesome. I call it the COVID-advantage, but people gave, as they had never done before … because people were really sensitive to the fact that our community was in trouble.”
“The changes that we had wanted to make were suddenly affordable because the business community made that possible and because Londoners gave so much. [The pandemic] revolutionized us and gave us opportunities to really do the things that we’ve always fought to do because the funds and the food were there,” he said.
Thanks to funding from Business Cares, the food bank will be able to establish several community greenhouses across the city. On Wednesday, the food bank unveiled their own showcase greenhouse at the food bank.
Prior to our big announcement tomorrow, it’s amazing what is happening inside and outside the greenhouse. Just a quick look and it’s wonderful.<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/LdnOnt?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#LdnOnt</a> <a href=”https://t.co/XhzzgbjOvN”>pic.twitter.com/XhzzgbjOvN</a>
Pearson said several community organizations and religious centres have already signed up to take part in the initiative. The food bank will set up the greenhouses and the community groups will be tasked with tending to the gardens. The harvest will then be donated back to the food bank.
“So what it is, is neighbour helping neighbour. Of course the food bank is also giving food but it will now be topped up with the produce that will be made out of these greenhouses, so it’s a vast network, but we’re really excited about it.”
Ways to support London Cares Curb Hunger Food Drive
Financial Donations – The food bank says online donations at www.londonfoodbank.ca are vital and the quickest way to help the London Food Bank acquire fresh food.
Food Donations – Non-perishable food donations can be left in bins at participating grocery stores. Store locations can be found at www.londonfoodbank.ca. Both fresh and non-perishable foods continue to be accepted at the Food Bank, located at 926 Leathorne Street.
Plant a Row, Grow a Row – Londoners can sign up to help Grow-a-Row for the London Food Bank in their backyard or community gardens.
Sign up for a hanging Green Wall – About 50 residents are able to sign up on the London Food Bank’s website to receive a vertical garden. These Green Walls are a chance to grow fresh vegetables on the side of a wall for the London Food Bank.
London Cares Curb Hunger campaign runs until June 26