WINDSOR, ONT. -- A massive Chatham-Kent food drive dubbed the “May 16th Miracle” proved a huge success, collecting food and goods from nearly 70,000 homes to deliver to those in need.

On May 16, 3,000 volunteers worked together, while physically distanced, at more than 80 drop-off locations for the food drive that spanned the entire municipality, event organizers say.

Volunteers covered more than 2,000 sq km, visited nearly 70,000 homes, and staffed rural depots. There were also drop-off locations for drive-through deliveries.

“I have never seen anything like this, not even close”, one of the event organizers James Rasmussen said in a news release. “We are all completely overwhelmed with the support.”

The initiative was planned virutally over a four-week period, with an organizing committee of ten people, who worked with the volunteers.

The committee says it also it also worked closely with the Chatham-Kent Public Health Team and local Medical Officer of Health and Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff.

“The May 16th Miracle brought national attention to the positive spirit and compassion of our community,” says Mayor Canniff. “This has been a perfect example of why I am so proud to live and work in Chatham-Kent. When faced with challenges, we never fail to rise to the occasion. I will never forget how we all came together – while staying apart – for this initiative.” 

Spirits in the municipality are up because of the event, organizers say. A “consistent feeling of happiness and unity are being shared around the community,” with social media posts sharing photos of their donations, chalk art and signs.

"It's humbling to witness the unconditional effort that all of Chatham-Kent provided, without any hesitation,” says Wes Thompson, a member of the organizing team. “It has shifted my regard for this community to another level."

The food is now being sorted and stored in areas, shipping and receiving facilities, and other large buildings before it is distributed.

“On Sat., May 16th, a miracle took place in Chatham-Kent and is a shining example of what can happen when people come together,” organizers said.  

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