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The London Food Bank is making a final push to collect donations for its spring drive just as the province’s latest COVID-19 shutdown, starting Saturday, could cause a drop in donations.

The Easter holiday weekend is traditionally the busiest time of the 10-day drive, but officials at the food bank hope the largely online format of this year’s campaign — a move forced by the pandemic — will make up for any drop in food donations.

“We just don’t know what to expect,” said Glen Pearson, co-executive director of the food bank.

“We always get half of whatever it is we get on the final weekend of the drive, but with the lockdown coming in the middle of it, it is difficult . . . and it definitely makes online giving that much more important.”

The drive comes as the food bank embarks on major projects to help address food insecurity in the city — projects that, at the same time, have been made possible thanks to the generosity of Londoners during the previous pandemic-driven online collections.


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One of them is a mobile project in partnership with four branches of London’s YMCA and five neighbourhood resource centres to create a city-wide food distribution system that will make it easier for people to access food.

The food bank is also now supplying45 agencies that support people in need, almost double the number of agencies the food bank supported before the pandemic. Also since the start of the pandemic, the food bank launched a lunch program to feed homeless people in the city.

“These are some of the biggest changes of food security since we’ve been around as a food bank for 35 years,” Pearson said.

“I think the stakes are actually higher this time . . . and we’re asking London to remember that our responsibilities are far greater now but the goal of food security is far closer than it has been.”

On Friday, the food bank efforts got a boost from 17-year-old Cadence Lankin, who used the proceeds from selling her artwork to donate $1,100 to the drive.

That’s the type of support and generosity the food bank has received from Londoners since the start of the virus crisis, Pearson said.

“I think that’s one of things the pandemic has really done — it has baptized this whole community, all of us, all the demographics, all the age groups,” he said. “We’re looking out for other people, we are trying to find ways to help our neighbours. This is something that every single citizen has participated in.”


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As of Friday, the spring food drive had brought in the equivalent of 19,708 kg (43,357 lbs.) of food through 6,358 kg of donated foodstuffs (13,988 lbs.) and $76,359.93 in donations, worth the rest of the tally.


Runs until Monday

Donate at Cheques and cash at food bank also accepted; e-transfers not accepted.

Non-perishable food and toiletries can be donated at grocery stores; needed items available on the food bank website.

Donating food is low-risk for COVID-19 spread, but money goes further when food bank buys what’s needed.

Fire stations not accepting food donations.

With healthy supplies at the central warehouse, up to 100 per cent from spring drive will go to other agencies and food services, compared to the usual 60 per cent


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