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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Food hub launched in Lakeshore

- Community Support Centre excited to extend food pantry program -

by Sylene Argent With the Community Support Centre of Essex County noticing a 54-percent increase in recipient usage of its Food Pantry service since the COVID-19 pandemic began, its staff and volunteers launched a county-based drive-through food hub at its 962 Old Tecumseh Road location last Wednesday. This was the third food hub launched through the Unemployment Help Centre, and the first one established in the county, Tracey Bailey said, who is the CEO of the Community Support Centre of Essex County.   She noted that at the Community Support Centre of Essex County’s Food Pantry, typically clients would simply shop for the items they need. With the COVID-19 pandemic introducing social distancing requirements, the drive-through idea came about, which allows program workers to pop food into the trunk of those who need it. The names of those who are stopping by to utilize their service are taken and recorded on sight.   Bailey gave recognition to the Goodfellows of Belle River/Rochester, which was part of a recent large donation to the Community Support Centre of Essex County. Area businessman Mike Dunn initially donated $10,000 to this cause. When he did that, he also challenged others in the community to do the same, noting he would match a $20,000 donation. Soon after, the Goodfellows of Belle River/Rochester came in with a $20,000 donation, which Dunn matched, for a total donation of $50,000. Rick Anderson, President of the Goodfellows of Belle River/Rochester, said the club raised the funds through its annual banquet and newspaper campaign over the course of several years. The funds were set aside for an emergency, and the club consensus was that the current pandemic, and the additional stress on food distribution outlets due to increases in usage, meet the requirements to use the emergency funds. The funds were forwarded to the Community Support Centre to help it keep up with the increase in demand for food during the pandemic. This donation she said, funded the creation of 300 food boxes that those in need can take home through the new drive-though food hub. “It is pretty powerful to see organizations come together in crisis to make things happen. It is just mind-blowing. The leadership through this crisis has been incredible,” Bailey said, adding gratitude to the Goodefellows for the donation. The drive-through food hub at the Old Tecumseh Road location is open on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 11am to 2 pm. It will continue to operate as needed, Bailey noted. Clients can utilize this service every two weeks. Bailey said plans are in place to provide these clients with a gift card as well, so that they can go to local grocery stores to buy perishable items as needed. Mike Turnbull of the Unemployment Help Centre said another food hub was implemented in Leamington, at the Salvation Army Oak Street location, last Friday. He said the Unemployment Help Centre’s Windsor location has noticed a 58 percent increase in usage since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Turnbull said the community input through the pandemic has been fantastic. “I can’t get over how generous this community is, especially in a time of great need.” He noted the WFCU Centre has been the facility where many of the food boxes given out are package, and gave recognition to the redeployed City of Windsor workers for their efforts. The Community Support Centre of Essex County offers a myriad of services, including the Community Food Pantry, Meals on Wheels, transportation services, foot care, home supports, congregate dining, youth services, adult day programs, outreach counselling, and social programs. The services formerly available through Essex Community Services was transferred to the Community Support Centre of Essex County on December 1 of 2019. Around a year ago, this local organization obtained the facility on Old Tecumseh Road to accommodate its expanding services.   Log onto or call 519-728-1435 to learn more or inquire about services.


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