London-Middlesex Restaurant Support Fund: Libro Credit Union Contributor Spotlight

The London-Middlesex Restaurant Support Fund has been created in partnership with Club House for Chefs and McCormick Canada, the Middlesex London Food Policy Council, Pillar Nonprofit Network, rTraction, Tourism London and the Western Fair District. The fund awards eligible, independent restaurant operators with grants of $1,000 to support their businesses to open or remain open through the difficult times caused by COVID-19. 

Libro Credit Union was the first local business to contribute to the London-Middlesex Restaurant Support Fund, pledging $2000 before the fund was even announced. Thomas Sumpter, a Commercial and Agricultural Account Manager with Libro learned of the initiative by way of his volunteer work with the Middlesex London Food Policy Council and championed it with his organization. “Being a donor for this project is a perfect fit for Libro,” Sumpter says, “as it parallels our pillars and values as a cooperative.” 

Libro focuses on growing prosperity in Southwestern Ontario by contributing to causes that support four important pillars: employment, financial resilience, local food accessibility and housing. In June, Libro launched an initiative called the #Loyal2LocalChallenge. For this challenge, staff members were given twenty-five dollars to purchase something from a local business and post about it on social media using the provided hashtag. Many individuals used their allowance to purchase food from a local restaurant.

Being a donor to the London-Middlesex Restaurant Support Fund aligns with Libro’s vision of supporting causes related to employment, financial resilience and local food accessibility. Sumpter believes that restaurants have always been a staple in London and Middlesex communities and that these businesses help to provide a vibrant local culture to our area. “Every community within Middlesex-London has restaurants that people can associate themselves with,” adds Sumpter.

 Libro and Sumpter anticipate that the London-Middlesex Restaurant Support Fund will help local restaurants with unexpected operating costs that have been inflicted due to COVID-19. These costs include purchasing personal protective equipment and other materials that will help to ensure social distancing occurs in restaurants. “Ultimately, we hope that restaurants are able to use this fund to make their customers feel safe and ensure that they continue to return,” says Sumpter.

When asked if he had any suggestions or words of encouragement for restaurants to get through this pandemic, Sumpter stated “Clearly we are living in a different world. I encourage restaurants to focus on looking at different revenue streams and how they can adapt to the changing times.” 

Sumpter himself is a fan of many local restaurants, he adds, “All restaurants add value to their community, I hope that this grant will help these businesses to have the confidence to keep pushing through these difficult times” The London-Middlesex Restaurant Support Fund has already awarded grants to thirty-three restaurants and is continuing to look for local enterprises to step up and support the fund. To apply to this fund or to make a contribution, please visit lmrsf.ca.

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