Halloween display nets 1,222 lbs. of donations for the London Food Bank

Sarah Appleby (right) stands alongside her neighbour Gary Saunders (centre) and her husband Thomas Jurisaga as they drop off more than 1,000 pounds of donations to the London Food Bank. supplied by Sarah Appleby

A London, Ont., family’s mission to trade candy for canned goods turned out to be a massive success after their Halloween display helped garner 1,222 pounds of donations for the London Food Bank.

The east London display was a key feature of Global News’ Halloween display map this year.

It included a number of items scattered across a lawn, with a 25-foot-long glow-in-the-dark great white shark named Bitey serving as its centrepiece.

Read more: Looking for a fright? Here’s the 2021 Halloween map for the London, Ont. area

Sarah Appleby, who created the display with her husband, Thomas Jurisaga, says it took about eight to 10 hours to construct, followed by another week of painting and putting on the final touches.

Sarah Appleby’s Halloween display at 65 Wethered St. in London, Ont. supplied by Sarah Appleby

While crafting an original spooky spectacle has become a Halloween tradition for Appleby’s family, this was their first time setting up a donation bin for the London Food Bank.

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“(My neighbour) wanted to do this and we joined forces. I jumped on it on Oct. 4 and he jumped on it about two weeks later,” Appleby said.

From there, Appleby took to Facebook and began calling media outlets in hopes of spreading the word. She would even hand out candy in exchange for every donation that was dropped off.

“My daughter helped hand out candy; she always said thank you for donating. My son helped to bring in donations I was storing in my house, so it was a family effort. It was a community effort,” Appleby said.

“It was a big eye-opener as well because a bunch of strangers coming together? It’s amazing.”

Sarah Appleby and her family pose in front of Bitey, a great white glow-in-the-dark shark that helped reel in more than 1,200 pounds of donations for the London Food Bank. supplied by Sarah Appleby

The massive donation garnered praise from Jane Roy, the co-executive director of the London Food Bank.

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“1,200 pounds is probably worth about $3,000 worth of food, so when you think of it in that context, you can see how far 1,200 pounds goes,” Roy said.

Halloween proved to be all treat and no trick for the food bank, with a number of other donations rolling in from the holiday, including a pair of houses that garnered about 1,100 pounds of food.

“Seeing all of this food and seeing the folks that did this, and actually had a lot of fun doing it, was a real joy for us,” Roy added.

Read more: London Food Bank announces record-breaking Thanksgiving drive

As for next year, Appleby says she plans to continue asking for donations as part of a new annual tradition for her family.

“We would build this shark no matter what because we love Halloween as a family,” Appleby said.

“Now we’re throwing the donations in there, the more the word spreads, the better.”

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