London Food Bank limiting entry due to COVID-19

London Food Bank Co-Executive Directors Jane Roy and Glen Pearson. (File photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

The London Food Bank is restricting how many people can enter its food warehouse at one time as panic over the spread of COVID-19 continues to grow.

Jane Roy, co-executive director of the food bank, said the change is meant to minimize contact between staff, volunteers, and the non-profit’s clients.

“We are limiting it to four because of the way people are coming in. It allows us to help them quickly and get them out,” said Roy. “So people can still come on down, but if you do, make sure you dress according to the weather because you might be waiting outside for a little bit before you actually get inside and get served.”

To speed up the process, clients will no longer be allowed to select their own produce. Staff will now be handing out pre-packaged produce to each client who comes through the doors.

Roy added the food bank is not cutting back its hours as it is anticipated there will be an increase in demand for its services in the coming days.

“We are expecting increases to happen this week because of March break happening and schools closing for two weeks on top of that,” said Roy. “So we haven’t seen the need increase yet, but we know it is coming.”

The food bank serves roughly 3,400 London area families a month, which is roughly 10  times more than 20 years ago. Of those served by the food bank, roughly 38 per cent are children.

For the time being, Roy recommends anyone wishing to give to the food bank do so through a financial donation.

“The easiest thing for people to do is give us money and then we can go out and buy the food. It limits the contact,” said Roy. “We have got a spring food drive coming up so we are about to figure out how we can run a virtual food drive.”