Plans to expand food access to the needy in London, Ont., Took a major step forward on Monday as the London Food Bank launched the first hub of its new neighborhood food delivery system.
The first of nine upcoming extensions of the London Food Bank was hosted by the South London Neighborhood Resource Center (SLNRC).
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According to SLNRC Executive Director Nancy Needham, from the location inside the South London Community Center, the opening day drove 47 people out for food.
“We are now a neighborhood food bank, individuals who are getting support today will generally receive more than they have received in the past,” Needham said.
“In the past, we had an emergency food cupboard that gave you enough for a hearty meal … but now that we are connected to the London Food Bank, you and your family are getting enough food for several days.”
Needham said that another benefit of the partnership is the ability to connect visitors to the food program Other services SLNRC provides.
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“We are also providing you with support and connections to our youth programs, our settlement services, our early years programs, so a lot of connections for the whole family helps them get out of poverty,” Needham said.
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London Food Bank operations coordinator Mary Ann McDowell says the first day at SLNRC was hiccup-free, which gives confidence for the rest of the planned Food Bank extension to open.
Those upcoming sites include the Northwest London Resource Center, Crouch Neighborhood Resource Center, Glen Cairn Community Resource Center and LUSO Community Services.
The YMCA Center Branch of Southwestern Ontario, Bosvetic Community Center, Stoney Creek Community Center and Bob Hayward are also offering the YMCA.
“This kind of program is great for us because we know that transportation is a real obstacle for people,” McDowell said.
“We have to work with some creative thinking about how things are going to work … I’m sure there will be more creative thinking that is going to happen, but we will definitely face it as we go.”
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Meanwhile, SLNRC will provide access to food hampers from Monday to Friday between 10 am to 3 pm
After serving dozens of people during the launch, Needham hopes SLNRC will see its visits grow in the coming days.
“Once people know that there is a service and support in the community, they tell others.”
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