The City of St. John's annual food drive begins Monday, and Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O'Leary says it's more important than ever for people to donate.

O'Leary says more than 26,000 people use food banks in this province each month, and 40 per cent of them are children.

"That is a very disconcerting issue. We are seeing increasing numbers and certainly children," said O'Leary."It's a big issue for us to ensure that people are getting the food they need."

According to O'Leary, the Community Food Sharing Association is seeing increasing numbers of clients, even if on a short-term basis.

"Some people have temporary situations. Others are, you know, more long term. But we know that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and the people in the city of St. John's are great at helping their neighbours," she said.

Sheilagh O'Leary

St. John's deputy mayor Sheilagh O'Leary says more than 26,000 people in Newfoundland and Labrador use a food bank every month. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

O'Leary says the idea of asking people to leave non-perishable food donations out for pickup on the regular scheduled garbage collection day was to make it easy for people to remember.

"It makes it quite simple for people to donate by putting out non-perishable food items in the early A.M. on their garbage day," she said.

O'Leary lauded the efforts of the Community Food Sharing Association and its director, Eg Walters, but said the food bank can't handle the task alone.

That's why the city's food drive is so important, she said.

 'We all have a part to play in this.' - Sheilagh O'Leary

"The Community Food Sharing Association, Eg Walters, has been doing a phenomenal job over the years but we all have a part to play in this," she said.

While there's no specific target to reach in the collection effort, O'Leary said City Hall will be posting the levels of contribution throughout the week to show how much food is being picked up.

The food drive has been in place since 2014.

Over that period, city residents have contributed more than 350,000 pounds of food.


  • A previous version of this story said 35,000 pounds of food had been collected. Incorrect information was provided by the City of St. John's.
    Nov 20, 2017 10:42 AM NT