Skip to main content

London Food Bank launches Thanksgiving drive as need soars to record highs

The London Food Bank has launched its 35th annual Thanksgiving Food Drive.

It comes as the demand grows faster than ever.

“Every month and every day is almost like a new record, and it’s very, very difficult for the people that are coming,” said Food Bank Co-Director Jane Roy.

In the first eight months of 2023, the London Food Bank has helped an average of 5,287 families per month (12,632 individuals). This represents an increase of 43 per cent over the same period last year, and 91 per cent over 2021.

The Food Bank also saw its busiest day ever on Aug. 8, 2023 when 352 families were served.

“Donations have increased as well,” explained Roy. “So donations of fresh produce have continued to come in. Over the pandemic, a lot of people gave us money. So now what we’re doing is we’re spending that money, so everybody gets milk, everybody gets eggs.”

While the London Food Bank itself is doing fine, Co-Director Glen Pearson says food banks across the country are collapsing under the weight of inflation and lack of volunteers. Many small food banks that depend on the London Food Bank for assistance find themselves in trouble, he said. “Food banks are closing, some are rationing, some are suspending operations as they try to get through a difficult economic time.”

With the changing patterns of donations and demand, food banks are having to re-invent themselves. One of the emerging trends is something called a ‘farm in a box.’ It’s a method of growing crops in a controlled environment inside shipping containers. The London and District Construction Association is building one such facility for the London Food Bank.

“You have a constant flow of high nutritious food that can be available for folks that need it,” explained Association Executive director Mike Carter. “We decided to do this because our members are uniquely capable of building a farm in a box.”

The box will be ready next spring. To purchase a unit would normally cost about $250,000.

Pearson said food banks can’t tackle their problems of high demand simply by asking people to donate more, “This is something really significant. You’re going to have to grow more,” he said.

The Thanksgiving Food Drive runs from Sept. 29 until Oct. 9.

Drop-off donations are located at London grocery stores, Metro, Loblaws, Food Basics, Valu-Mart, Foodland, Sobeys, Great Canadian, Freshco, and No Frills. Top Stories

Stay Connected