London, Ont., now has its very own vegan food bank.
The London Vegan Food bank, which started offering entirely plant-based donation boxes in June, began after a group of friends felt there was a need for an all-vegan food bank in the community.
“We’re big fans of the London Food Bank, but they don’t have a fully vegan, plant-based donation box,” said Michael Edward, one of the organization’s founding members.
“We just wanted to be able to supply vegan and plant-based products as well as fresh produce to people who are in need.”
The idea came from Edward’s partner, Cassidy Jordan. She reached out to her friend Brennan Moore, and together with Edward, the three starting creating the donation boxes out of their homes.
“We’ve had a plethora of local farmers and stores, organizations, companies within the area and even out of the area donating food weekly,” Edward said. “We’ve had companies mail products to us. Our wonderful neighbours even donated a freezer for us to use for the time being.”
The feedback has been phenomenal, said Edward.
“The day that we deliver the boxes to people, we get a lot of heartfelt messages on our social media, just expressing how grateful they are. We’ve had messages where people say they have tears in their eyes,” he said.
“They just couldn’t be more thrilled that someone is supplying them with these items.”
If you’re interested in using the services of the London Vegan Food Bank, you can contact the organization through any one of its social media accounts.
Edward and the team will send you an email with a short intake questionnaire. Edward said the group understands that it can be difficult to ask for help so they try to be as non-invasive as possible.
“We’re curious about the level of urgency. If you’re in a higher position of need, we will try to get it to you as soon as possible. We also ask about preferences. We don’t want to give people things they don’t like,” he said.
If you don’t have a dietary restriction that forces you to avoid meat and dairy, don’t fret. The London Vegan Food Bank is open to everyone.
“You don’t have to be vegan, you don’t have to be a vegetarian, you don’t have to be (lactose intolerant) or any of those things to use our services,” he said.
“Everything we give out is going to be vegan, plant-based — that’s what we do, but you do not have to be vegan to use our services.”
Right now, the London Vegan Food Bank sends a monthly box to 80 families.
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Edward is hopeful that in the coming months they’ll have donation boxes at some restaurants throughout the city.
—With files from Liny Lamberink