November 29, 2023

Food City

The Best Darn Food City Uou Can Get

How one family’s extra food started a meal project for Londoners sleeping rough

It started when Brenda Adams needed to free up some space in her freezer. 

She had too much food — so she decided to make some vegetable and chicken soup — and share it with those sleeping rough in London. 

“It’s just something my husband and I always wanted to do,” she said. “We just had extra food.”

From there, her generosity became contagious.

two people put boxes on a truck bed in the winter
Christian (left) and his mother Brenda Adams (right) fill their truck bed with donations of clothing, bedding and hygiene kits to give out on the streets of London. (Michelle Both/CBC)

After a post on Facebook, Adams started collecting food, clothing, blankets and toiletry donations from strangers to give to those on the streets, she said. She and her family have now made hundreds of meals for people experiencing homelessness, with no plan to stop.

“It feels great because I have a lot to give, whether it’s a small amount or a little amount. But the community has helped us, has supported us with the donations and their support,” she said. 

They now venture out every two weeks in their pickup truck to give out food and much-needed items during the evening. They’ll look for tents and people sleeping in doorways, starting on Dundas Street and working their way throughout the city. 

On Thursday, chicken dinners were on the menu — complete with potatoes, gravy, stuffing and dessert, she said. On their busiest night, they fed more than 90 people. Two weeks ago, it was about 60. One night, they gave out over 10 kilograms of spaghetti and eight kilograms of meat sauce. 

Each time she heads out, she sees familiar faces, new faces and also people she can’t find anymore.

hands hold two ziplock bags filled with toiletries
Brenda Adams and her family collect donations for hygiene kits to hand out to people sleeping rough in London. (Michelle Both/CBC)

Adams said even though it’s been busy, she isn’t too tired from working the night shift at Tim Hortons to give back.

“It’s actually been rewarding for me and my family, that we can contribute back to our city,” she said. “I’m just giving back to the city that I live in. I mean, we live here, I live here. This is my home. And why not give back?” 

‘Always be kind to others’ 

Back in the Argyle neighbourhood, Adams’ house has turned into a storage unit of sorts, piled high in blankets, clothing and food donations.

“I’m trying to get everything organized,” she said. “My kids love it. My husband, he doesn’t mind it.”

Adams said the work teaches her children, 17 and 20 years old, an important lesson: to always be kind to others. 

“My family is fortunate that we can help and give back to the city,” she said. “This is our home. This is where we live. And we got to support here where we live.”