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June 27 Miracle organizers pleased with community response


by Sylene Argent

Photos submitted

“It’s wild,” Tracey Bailey said, who is the CEO of the Community Support Centre of Essex County and a member of the June 27 Miracle event, referring to how the regional food drive went on Sunday. “The momentum is incredible.”

  Around 50 volunteers helped unload donations that were brought to the Community Support Centre of Essex County’s Lakeshore-based office on Sunday.

  “You ask for one person, one can, one porch, and the collective impact that happens is incredible,” Bailey said, adding though volunteers were tiring after a long day of collecting and hauling non-perishable food donations, everyone was smiling, passersby were honking their horns in support, and volunteers decorated their vehicles with streamers, balloons, and signs to promote the event.

  Just a few hours into the event, she was sure the office’s pantry and shelves, around 2000 square-feet, would be full, thanks to the generosity of the community and the commitment of around 5000 volunteers region-wide, who joined forces to ensure the event was a success to aid those in the community experiencing economically stressful times.

  The timing was interesting, Bailey said, as the shelves at the Community Support Centre of Essex County were becoming bare as the event kicked-off. “And then, boom, there was a miracle happening.”

  A secondary storage facility, at St. Andrew’s Church in Lakeshore, was at the ready, to store additional donations, if needed.

  Members of this year’s organizing committee included Bailey, Matt Hernandez, Bill Spencer, Kelsey Coon, Morgan, Kendal, Jennifer Jones, Spencer Briguglio, Tera Gillen, Sue Desjarlais, Talya Natyshak. And Noah Campbell. These members, Bailey said, got to learn from the committee that formed last year.

  Essex Councillor Kim Verbeek participated in the food drive, hosting a collection drop-off site at Essex Fire Station # 2 on Gesto Road.

  The rural drop-off  was hosted those who did not have porch pick-ups, Last year, she was stationed at the McGregor Community Centre, and the stream of donations was solid. For her, in her new location, it was a lot quieter this year, but she knew of other sites that were much busier.

   Being a part of the event for the past two-years has been heartwarming, seeing the way the community steps up every time for their vulnerable neighbours. There were vehicles that pulled up that donated several bags of groceries. “People are very generous and giving what they can, knowing it’ll go to people who really need it,” she said.  

  Essex Councillor Sherry Bondy also participated in the event from Harrow. Working from the Harrow Arena, she said she and the around 60 other volunteers there were not as busy as last year, but the donations will still be really helpful in helping to feed local families and individuals in need. Representatives of Project Hope and the Harrow Chapter of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank told her they collected enough food to last them until Christmas.   

It was nice to see the community support, she said, in the form of not only the volunteers and donors, but from those who dropped by the site to provide food or other treats to support those who helped out.