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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Miracle food drive collects massive amounts of donations

by Julianna Bonnett/EFP Staff

photos submitted to EFP by Julianna Bonnett/Sherry Bondy/Chris Lewis

More than 10,000 volunteers, from across Windsor-Essex County, took to the streets on Saturday afternoon in hopes of ensuring the June 27th Miracle event, a region-wide food drive, would be a success.

After Chatham-Kent had a successful food drive that brought in over 700,000 canned goods on May 16, Windsor-Essex signed-up for the challenge. On Saturday at noon, each volunteer collected non-perishable items from porches and driveways across Windsor-Essex. The items will be forwarded to local food banks and other organizations in the area.

“We started this journey about 21-days [ago]. We never knew it would take off like this,” Tracey Bailey, said, who is Lakeshore’s Deputy Mayor, CEO of the Community Support Centre of Essex County, and one of the organizers of the June 27th Miracle event. “We had a group of ten people sitting on the leadership team, and when we put it out to the city, we did not expect the response we got from it.”

Bailey explained the City of Windsor food banks need as much help as they could get during this time.

“There have been over 30,000 visits to local food banks in Windsor-Essex due to COVID-19 and our food banks have been performing at a 54 percent increase since the pandemic started,” Bailey said. “More and more people have been laid off and they’re home. So, the help that our community needs are there, and we are trying to do as much as we can to help homeowners and families.”

Thanks to the inspiration from the Chatham-Kent drive, the Windsor Essex project was organized in cooperation with the Windsor Goodfellow’s and numerous other non-profits in Windsor-Essex.

“This was the right thing to do,” one of the organizers, Joshua Lane, said. “I think COVID has taught us something, we tend to turn a blind eye to what’s happening in our community and because of the pandemic, it has shown us where our community needs the help.”

Photos posted onsite by organizers show the massive amounts of donations forward to the event, stored at local hockey arenas.

Sue Beger, a local Captain for the event, said there were approximately 350 volunteers from the Essex/McGregor region alone to help out with the Miracle event.

Volunteers were divided into driving and walking teams and went door-to-door within Essex and McGregor to collect food donations that residents left on their front porches. There were also three rural drop-off locations set up locally; one in McGregor at the Community Centre, one at Trinity Church in Cottam, and one at the Gesto Fire Hall # 2.

The collected donations were brought to the Essex Centre Sports Complex, where more volunteers were on hand to sort and box food in preparation for delivery to area food banks. Sorting of the collected donations continued on into Monday.

A special collection event took place in McGregor on Friday, June 26 for the residents at Wildwood Golf & RV Resort. A golf cart parade collection was held to gather donations from residents at the park.

In early June, the call went out for handmade signs promoting the noon June 27 pick up of non-perishable food items in the Harrow area. The goal was to fill the pantry of the Harrow Food Bank.

With hundreds of volunteers collecting donations in the Harrow and Colchester area, the lack of floor space at the Harrow Arena was testament to the generosity of the community. With the huge success of the event, sorting of donated items continued into Sunday and Monday.

Drop off locations were set up at Fruit Wagon, Oxley Estate Winery, Muscedre Winery, Cooper’s Hawk Winery, Sprucewood Winery, and Larry Renaud Ford for those who were not be in the collection area.


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