Thousands of volunteers help 'The Gift CK' become a huge success to help those in need
CHATHAM, ONT. -- It was billed as 'the biggest community holiday event in Chatham-Kent history’ and it didn't disappoint.
Over 2000 volunteers went door to door Saturday in the municipality, collecting items for those in need during the Christmas season.
"We have an entire community mobilization," says Kelly Martin, a volunteer and co-organizer.
"We've asked everyone in the community to put something on their front porch, and our volunteers will be bringing them to the depots so we can re-distribute them to our service clubs."
Every small town in Chatham-Kent was on board.
In Ridgetown the fire fighters drove an engine down Main Street and service club members chipped in as well.
"We like to help out with the community whenever we can," says Deputy Fire Chief Henry Vandergriendt.
"We did this back for the 'May 16th Miracle', we're doing it again today."
The event took over two months to organize, but with perfect weather Saturday, it all came together.
"It's a heart-warming experience," says Martin.
"You can feel the chill in the air, and you can feel the spirit. It's amazing to be part of this."
After volunteers collected the goods, they drove to various depots to drop them off.
In Chatham, cars lined Richmond St. for nearly a kilometre to get into the gift factory parking lot.
Seeing all those vehicles truly got people in the Christmas spirit.
"We've got all these high school boys and girls volleyball players here to unload the cars," says Scott Willison of Chatham Goodfellows who was helping with the warehouse.
"It is awesome to see the teenagers involved."
Williston says he's been with Goodfellows for over 50 years, and is not surprised by the good deeds done by members of Chatham-Kent.
However despite a very successful day, the work is not done. They will need volunteers over the next two weeks to help sort and distribute all the goods collected.
"From now to next Sunday we need volunteers to sort things," adds Willison.
"Because of COVID we can only put 50 people in the warehouse at a time. If you contact us, we'll give a time to come help us sort, then distribute this all out."
Anyone wishing to volunteer can click here.