On behalf of the Business Cares Food Drive committee, we would like to extend our sincere gratitude and thanks to the entire London community for helping us raise an incredible 435,400 pounds of food for the London Food Bank. This is an astounding 34 per cent higher than last year, in part and thanks to the addition of some key partners. Although we always set a goal of one pound more than the previous year, this campaign continues to be more about people and business giving what they can as every pound and every dollar truly is appreciated.
We have completed our 18th year and unfortunately not our last. Food Bank usage has remained fairly stable over the past year serving 3,500 families per month with 38 per cent under the age of 17 and, of note, a nine per cent increase in seniors using the services. The food collected the past month from over 500 businesses, their employees, and the community will satisfy the needs of the food bank for the next three to four months. The generous donations of cash and cheques will emphasize nutrition and go towards milk, eggs, fresh produce, baby needs, feminine hygiene products, and our harvest program.
Although our drive is only three weeks, it continues to come down to the final few days and this year was no exception. We have an amazing base of contributors that lead us off year after year. Our first weekend was a big success with over 700 volunteers at 24 grocery store locations that combined collected record amounts of food. The same weekend and next we were at Budweiser Gardens with our Be a Fan Bring a Can events. We followed the next week to a productive Sounds of the Season event. Next was our very successful Golfers Care evening with 160 attending and increasing their donation substantially. During the entire campaign, our friends at the Grand Theatre were collecting donations after each A Christmas Carol performance -- all this while several other London and Area businesses, small and large, had various competitions raising food and cash to help our needs.
However, to get us where we wanted to be and to share the exciting story of the campaign that was unfolding, the London media responded to get the message out. We are most thankful for all they did. As we have said year over year the response during this time was overwhelming and humbling, we heard from small and big business, local unions, institutions and organizations, students, and seniors all coming in with food and cheques.
There are so many stories we could share that would bring joy to all. It truly shows it isn't about the size of cheque or pounds, but the work and kindness behind it and that every donation counts. The success of this year’s campaign was because so many people and businesses cared, hence our slogan of "taking care of business means taking care of people."
So thank you all, and you know who you are, from your contributions of food and money to the hundreds of volunteers who gave of their precious time. We also offer appreciation from the thousands of people who are the recipients of your kindness. You have made a difference in the lives if the less fortunate. Thank you for caring.
Business Cares Food Drive