London·Sounds of the Season

Business Cares food drive kicks off

The Business Cares food drive kicked off Friday morning, hoping to raise more than 435,400 lbs of donated food for the London Food Bank.

The campaign is one of the biggest donors to the London Food Bank

Wayne Dunn, campaign chair of the Business Cares food drive, stands among boxes that will be filled with donated food before Christmas. (Kate Dubinski/CBC News)

The Business Cares food drive kicked off Friday morning, looking to raise more than 435,400 lbs of donated food for the London Food Bank. 

In fact, organizers are hoping to raise exactly one pound more to beat last year's record-setting campaign. 

"This is our 19th year and unfortunately, this won't be the end of it," said campaign chair Wayne Dunn. 

"Regrettably, the need continues to be there. Food bank usage is up about 40 per cent from just five years ago. Currently, about 3,500 families, or 8,000 individuals, use the food bank every month and 38 per cent are children under 17 and there's been a five per cent increase from seniors needing help."

The Business Cares food drive is one of the biggest for the London Food Bank in terms of food and monetary donations. 

Businesses large and small around London collect non-perishable food items, which are picked up by volunteers. 

This weekend also marks the big Grocery Store Weekend, with 24 stores in the London area collecting food donations and money. 

Dave Bunce works on the committee putting together Grocery Store Weekend, the big push for donated food to kick off the Business Cares food drive. (Kate Dubinski/CBC News)

Dave Bunce has worked on the Grocery Store Weekend for the last few years and says it's rewarding to know that Londoners are so giving. 

"Whether it's a can or two of food or a whole bag, people give what they can," he said. 

"It's always most gratifying to hear stories from people who have used the food bank in the past, who have been helped when they were in a tough situation, and are now donating." 

About 500 volunteers will work this weekend to collect donations at local stores. 

The Grand Theatre will be collecting donations during its run of A Christmas Carol from Dec. 5 to Dec. 23.

There will be three "Be a Fan, Bring a Can" events at London Knights' games at Budweiser Gardens on Dec. 7, 14, and 16. 

The Business Cares food bank drive wraps up on Dec. 21 with a weighing of donations.