Season of giving starts in London with Business Cares Food Drive | The London Free Press


Jane Roy, co-executive director of the London Food Bank, and Wayne Dunn, campaign chair of the Business Cares Food Drive, were Friday at Western University for the official launch of the annual drive, now in its 20th year. JONATHAN JUHA/The London Free Press


Few things mark the beginning of the holiday season in London like the Business Cares Food Drive.

The annual campaign that fights hunger in London launched Friday with an event at Western University that included a performance of Christmas songs by tuba players from the Don Wright faculty of music.

Here’s everything you need to know about the drive and how to contribute:

THE CAMPAIGN

London’s Business Cares Food Drive relies on local businesses to help raise food and money across the city to support the London Food Bank. The campaign runs for three weeks and ends Dec. 20. To date, more than 200 businesses in London have pledged to support the drive, with more than 500 expected by the time it wraps up.

THE GOAL

The goal of organizers is to surpass the previous year’s campaign donations by at least half a kilogram, a feat the drive has accomplished since its inception in 2000. Last year, volunteers collected 200,941 kilograms of food, 3,500 more than in 2017. That translates to about $750,000 worth of food items. “(I’m) humbled we are still able to do (the drive),” said Wayne Dunn, chair of the campaign, adding he never expected it would run this long when he helped start it. “The volume of what we need and the usage at the food bank has increased so much, but we are able and happy to do this . . . This campaign now is about the community more than anything else.”

THE NEED

More than 3,500 families or about 8,000 individuals use the London Food Bank every month. That’s an increase of nearly 40 per cent compared to five years ago. Of all users, 38 per cent are children under the age of 17, though the use of the food bank by seniors is also on the rise. Those numbers double when including the thousands of people supported by the food bank through dozens of organizations and agencies in London, including women’s shelter Anova and My Sisters’ Place, to name a few.

THE IMPACT

Jane Roy, co-executive director of the London Food Bank, said the Business Cares Food Drive has a  “huge” impact. She said the food and money raised through the campaign helps the food bank fill a void in January, February and March and helps it provide people with healthier food options. “It’s what gets us through to the spring food drive,” she said. “We couldn’t do what we do, without them.”

HOW TO HELP

You can donate your food Saturday and Sunday as part of the campaign’s Grocery Weekend initiative. About 700 volunteers will collect donations at 26 grocery stores across London. People also can donate at participating businesses, after each Christmas show at the Grand Theatre, during the upcoming London Knights’ Be a Fan, Bring a Can event, or online. For more information on dates and ways to donate, visit the Business Cares Food Drive website here.

This content was originally published here.

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