'It's been down a bit': Thanksgiving food drive off to slow start

The London Food Bank says that this year's Thanksgiving food drive has had a slower start this year with donations down over last year. But co-director of the food bank Glen Pearson says they are optimistic they will meet last year's total.

London Food Bank say the looming school strike was likely a factor in fewer donations

London Food Bank co-director Glen Pearson says that this year's food drive had a slow start due to pending CUPE strike action when it kicked off on Friday. (CBC)

The London Food Bank kicked off its annual Thanksgiving food drive to a slower start this year with donations down by approximately 700 to 800 pounds over last year. 

The agency, which feeds approximately 3,400 families a month, says the start of this year's drive has been quiet compared to others in the past.

"It's been down a bit. It started quite slow," said Glen Pearson, co-director of the London Food Bank.

Pearson suspects part of the slowdowns to CUPE negotiations. When the food drive started on Friday, there were concerns about a potential strike that could lead to school closures.

"Some of the schools decided to wait on their food drives to see what was going to happen. Now that the strike has been averted, we presume that those schools will have their food drives again," he said.

Pearson says another factor could be the upcoming federal election.

"This time last year, we had an election [civic election]. Whenever there's been an election, food drives have always kind of suffered a bit," he said.

While donations have been down, Pearson says he's not concerned. 

"We're never concerned. We're always optimistic," he said. "One thing you learn about the London public is that they always come through in the end." 

During the food drive, the London Food Bank partners with other social services such as Anova and Meals on Wheels. Around 60 per cent of their donations go to those agencies. Last year, they collectively raised almost 68,000 pounds of food.

Pearson estimates that about half of the food will come in this upcoming weekend. 

"I think we'll be good. We just ask the public to remember us during this week and donate what they can," he said.

Anyone who wishes to donate to the Thanksgiving food drive can make a donation at any grocery store and fire hall in the city. Online cash donations can also be made at the London Food Bank website.