Food insecurity in city grows as London Food Bank launches Thanksgiving food drive

With the London Food Bank reporting a 21 per cent increase in people accessing their services, it seems like the annual Thanksgiving food drive came just in the nick of time.

On Friday, the food bank kicked off the 33rd annual and second virtual Thanksgiving food drive.

The food bank’s co-director, Jane Roy, said as pandemic supports end, the number of people accessing their services is rising.

“It has been increasing month by month, and we are very close now to pre-pandemic levels, and when you compare the last six months this year to the six months last year, we are up 21 per cent,” Roy said.

The food bank is currently serving around 3,000 families a month right now.

“The food insecurity within our city is growing and more and more people are needing help,” Roy said.

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The campaign was launched outside the Northwest London Resource Centre, to mark the start of the food bank’s partnership with resource centres across the city by way of a new delivery truck.

The food bank’s new mobile food bank has a fridge and freezer, allowing the food bank to deliver hampers of both perishable and non-perishable food items to people unable to make it to its east London location.

The truck will make weekly deliveries to resource centres throughout the city and anyone wanting to access a food hamper just needs to call their local resource centre to find out dates and times.

Jennifer Martino, executive director of Crouch Neighbourhood Resource Centre, said during the pandemic they saw a 35 per cent increase in people accessing their services.

She said they were receiving some pandemic grants, but with those now ending, it’s important they build on relationships with local organizations like the food bank to expand services in their local community.

“If you don’t have a car, or if you don’t have bus fare, or you are uncomfortable taking it because of pandemic safety, then having resources available right in your neighbourhood is really critical.”

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In addition to the weekly food hampers, Martino said people can still access their basic food pantry throughout the week, and the other services they offer to address things like housing or income stability.

Looking at the increase in people who need support, Roy said the focus needs to be on addressing poverty, not just food insecurity.

“We partnered with the resource centres because they are more than just food. The idea is you still need to help people and give them their basic needs, but the reason they are having difficulties is for lots of different reasons and the resource centres have those councillors and programs to address some deeper root problems.”

People can support his year’s Thanksgiving campaign by donating online to help the food bank purchase perishable food items or by donating non-perishable food items in the collection bins at their local grocery store.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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