During REALTORS Care® Week 2021, the London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® (LSTAR) and its REALTOR® members donated $4,000 in cash, more than 100 pounds of food, and more than 40 hours of time in support of the London Food Bank.
Krystal Lee Moore, a local real estate broker with Royal LePage Triland Realty, Brokerage, and member of CREA’s REALTORS Care® Committee, spearheaded the organization of LSTAR’s REALTORS Care® Week 2021 activities. She rallied 14 of her fellow REALTORS® and LSTAR CEO Bill Madder to participate in hands-on volunteering over two days at the food bank. The volunteers helped out in the warehouse, sorting food and packing hampers, and also brought with them $500 in cash and more than 100 pounds of food donations. LSTAR provided an additional $1,000 donation.
“The experience was amazing,” shared Moore. “The organization runs like a well-oiled machine by some fantastic individuals. It is heart-warming to see how much is donated and how it is divided and separated. We have also learned that the needed items include things like healthy alternatives (difficult to find in non-perishables), baby formula and sanitary napkins.”
When Costa Poulopoulos, Past Chair of CREA’s Board of Directors, Past President of LSTAR, and current Chair of CREA’s REALTORS Care® Committee, and his wife and business partner Mary Johnson heard about the LSTAR volunteers’ great work, they jumped at the chance to provide additional support for this great cause. They donated $2,500 to the London Food Bank via Kindness Above Everything (KAE), a local charity founded by Johnson in 2014 that aims to improve the lives of impoverished families in the London area. This generous donation brought LSTAR and its members’ total financial contributions to the food bank during REALTORS Care® Week 2021 up to $4,000.
“We were thrilled to support the London Food Bank alongside our fellow REALTORS® during REALTORS Care® Week,” explained Johnson. “We are always on the look-out for opportunities to support individuals and families in our community who need a little help. This donation complemented KAE’s recent donation to London Cares in support of The Resting Space, their overnight and day respite for those who are unable to access means of shelter, our delivery of new boots and survival kits to London Cares, The Ark Aid Street Mission and Immanuel’s Helping Hands, and our donation of turkeys to Immanuel’s Kitchen for the holidays.”
The London Food Bank’s mission is to help community members in London and the surrounding area share its food resources with those struggling to make ends meet.
“November of 2021 saw our second busiest month ever, with almost 3,600 families assisted,” explained Mary Ann McDowell, Operations Coordinator at the London Food Bank. “Of the almost 8,000 individuals who are helped by our food bank, 39% of them are children under the age of 18. The donations made by LSTAR members during REALTORS Care® Week will go to assist the food bank in providing these children and their families with emergency food. Our organization really is dependent on volunteers and the REALTORS®’ contributions during REALTORS Care® Week were amazing.”
The London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® and their members are known for being deeply involved in their community. In 2021, the cumulative amount donated by LSTAR to local charities since 1989 surpassed $1 million. In May 2021, LSTAR facilitated the donation of more than $12,000 in emergency grants from the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation to five local charities. In August 2021, LSTAR awarded $6,000 in student scholarship grants. More than $53,000 in grants were awarded to 10 local charities as part of the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation and LSTAR’s Business Partners Program and Sponsorship Program. In December 2021, LSTAR participated in the Business Cares Food Drive, manning three grocery store locations in London that collected more than 9,000 pounds of food and brought in $7,100 in cash donations. LSTAR also raised funds for local charities through several virtual events throughout the year, including their Home Run Giveaway, Suitcase Party, and Santa Surprise Party. In addition, LSTAR is a Partner for Life with the Canadian Blood Services and supports the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign annually during the holiday season.
In December 2021, LSTAR also made a $10,000 donation to the Canadian Real Estate Association’s national REALTORS Care® fundraising campaign in support of the Canadian Red Cross, to aid the people and communities impacted by the devastating flooding, landslides, mudslides, power outages, and other incidents across the South Coastal and Interior regions of British Columbia.