Residents at a local community housing residence for seniors are answering the call for their neighbours in need.

A newly formed group has taken it upon themselves to establish an in-house food bank.

“Many of our neighbours have to decide between food and medication,” said a news release from Neighbours Helping Neighbours. “Our goal is to help minimize the stress of that decision as much as possible.”

The group has put together a “Caring-Cupboard” in its building. It takes donations of non-perishable food products, and opens the Caring Cupboard to residents in need one day per month.

London Food Bank co-director Glen Pearson says many seniors who were givers their whole lives, now find themselves on the receiving end of help.

“These people built our economy, they fought in wars, they endured depression so they’re some pretty special people.”

According to the latest annual Hunger Report by the Ontario Association of Food Banks, there has been a 10 per cent increase in seniors using food banks in Ontario.

In London, the increase is between five and six per cent, according to Pearson. He says diminishing pensions and benefits have contributed to the sudden rise in seniors looking for help.

"We just don't expect that of seniors right? You know it's always true at the food bank for the last 34 years we've always helped seniors from the beginning. But there were often people that were on social assistance, really having difficulty. Now it's people that have had pretty good lives or whatever it is, that they've retired and they don't have the pension plans that they were hoping they would have and they don't have the security that they did."

Donations for the Caring Cupboard are accepted at 30 Baseline Road West in the lounge on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The initiative is supported by London and Middlesex Community Housing.