LONDON, ONT. -- The organizers of a grass-roots food bank inside a London seniors’ apartment building say the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in more demand than they can keep up with.

CTV News London first met Virginia Harrie, Fran Wassmer, and Mary Blancher in September of 2019, about four months after they had established the Caring Cupboard inside their geared-to-income seniors building at 30 Baseline Rd. West.

At that time they were helping 35 fellow tenants put food on their tables. That number has now doubled to 70.

 “I hate to see people go without food,” said Wassmer. “You know people are hungry, and these are seniors. Seniors do not deserve to be hungry.”

Harrie said the rising cost of groceries is one of the reasons those with fixed incomes don’t have enough to buy food to last a full month.

“Food has gone way up but the money hasn’t. So now the desperation is even more.”

The Caring Cupboard helps out one in four tenants in the building. Some are clients who have experienced homelessness, and have only recently been placed by London and Middlesex Housing.

“They don’t have anything,” said Blancher. “They come in virtually with a backpack. No furniture. No pots and pans. Certainly no food.”

On top of greater demand, the pandemic has impacted donations.

A list of 23 regular donors is now down to six. The Caring Cupboard does receive support from the Glen Cairn Community Resource Centre, and from Spicer’s Bakery in Lambeth.

If you’d like to help out with a food or gift card donation, dropoffs are accepted at 30 Baseline Rd. West every Friday between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

You can also contact the Caring Cupboard at 519-777-4808.