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London Food Bank launches summer campaign and new greenhouse initiative

The London Food Bank kicks off 24th annual London Cares Curb Hunger Campaign.
The London Food Bank kicks off 24th annual London Cares Curb Hunger Campaign. Jaclyn Carbone / 980 CFPL

The City of London and London Food Bank are adapting the way they accept donations for the 24th annual London Cares Curb Hunger Campaign amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

During a virtual Zoom meeting on Tuesday, organizers and community partiers came together to launch the campaign.

Unlike in years past, there will be no curbside pick-up and people will not be allowed to drop donations at firehouses.

London Mayor Ed Holder said due to COVID-19, people are asked to leave donations in bins at grocery stores or at the food bank.

“This is not a food drive food drive, we are not setting targets, we don’t have totals, we are not sending out special bags, but we are asking the public to keep doing what they are doing now,” said Glen Pearson, co-executive director of the London Food Bank.

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READ MORE: More families relying on London Food Bank amid COVID-19

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pearson said the community has come together to support the food bank with donations and growing fresh produce.

“Why would we ask you to ramp it up when they have already been doing that for the last two months?”

The drive was initially designed to help the food bank restock its shelves in the summertime when there are not as many food-collecting campaigns.

Pearson estimates that when the government assistance ends, they and other types of social assistance will be inundated with people needing help.

“The need now has never been greater,” Holder said. “Tens of thousands of people are either out of work or living on a reduced income, and too many families are having to make difficult choices when it comes to putting food on the table.”

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During the campaign launch, adjunct faculty member and senior research associate at Western University, John Fleming, revealed plans to work with the Food Bank to build a greenhouse behind the Food Banks building.

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“It represents one of those unused spaces through our community that we can turn into a really productive site for growing fresh food.”

Fleming said this greenhouse will serve as a prototype that other local businesses can learn from with the hope that they also agree to build a greenhouse in unused industrial spaces to help feed Londoners in need.

Unlike other styles of greenhouses, Fleming said this one is designed so the crop’s roots don’t touch the native soil and groundwater, meaning they can be set up anywhere.

Financial donations can be made online at the London Food Bank website, and people are also able to participate in the Grow-a-Row infinitive to grow produce to donate.