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Thanksgiving food drive starts as need hits record high in London | CBC News

The London Food Bank’s annual Thanksgiving food drive kicks off this weekend and for the first time in the organization’s 34-year history, organizers are preparing for the possibility that donations could decline.

High inflation rates are driving up the cost of essentials and interest rates have increased, making it tougher for usual donors to give. At the same time, the food bank is seeing record demand for assistance. 

“It’s a new middle-class kind of poverty,” said co-director Glen Pearson. “I think it’s because all of a sudden, after COVID, everything just seemed to go through the roof. Rents, gas prices, interest rates, food, prices.”

The food bank is helping approximately 20,000 people each month through its pantry on Leathorne Street and through the city’s frontline charities.

Pearson says he’s seeing people who once donated now struggling. He remains hopeful this season’s food drive will be fruitful but admits he’s lowered his expectations. 

“We’ll see at the end of this food drive if that’s what happens. If our totals go down, that’s the way that it is. But we’re trying to tell everybody that we understand if you don’t have it, you can’t give it,” Pearson said. 

Londoners have always been generous. During last year’s Thanksgiving food drive, the community raised 71,225 lb of food, or 32,375 kg, a number that combined food and cash donations. 

This year’s food drive runs until Monday, October 10th.

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