'We come together in times of need,' June 27th Miracle volunteers sort through arenas full of supplies
WINDSOR, ONT. -- One day, 11,000 volunteers, and tens of thousands of individual donors.
The June 27th Miracle yielded a bounty like no other.
“I’m having goosebumps here right now, it’s unbelievable,” said Goodfellows Windsor President Art Reid.
Pallet upon pallet of donations fill two arenas at the WFCU centre with similar scenes at arenas across Essex County.
From front porches to arenas in less than 24 hours.
“We really didn’t fathom that we’d be able to raise this much food in one day and only four weeks of planning this,” said one of the many organizers of the June 27th Miracle Josh Lane.
Lane said the team is now mobilizing a game plan to sort, tally, and distribute the food and hygiene products to local food banks.
“We’re going to have to figure that out before we start the full call for volunteers to come back and help,” he said. “But I’m assuming by the volume you see here, we’re going to need another army and a second miracle to get this sorted.”
But once they do, food banks like the one at the Unemployed Help Centre expect to receive enough to stock the shelves for a year. “This was a good boost and a good feel, and it truly was a miracle,” said June Muir CEO of the Unemployed Help Centre.
The timing is important.
Muir says the Unemployed Help Centre has provided food to 39,000 people since March 16. Nearly half of those in need were first time users.
“There’s plenty of food, we want people to access it, we’re here to help and it makes us feel good because we don’t have to worry about now, where’s this food going to come from?” she said.
Speculation is rampant about just how much was collected. Organizers hoped to gather about 675,000 lbs. of donations, which is about what was collected in Chatham-Kent’s miracle in May.
Organizers are now still trying to wrap their heads around the generosity of the region.
“It was one of the most moving and inspirational experiences I’ve ever been a part of,” Lane said. “And thank you to those volunteers who threw their hat in.”
Greg Lemay, a volunteer with the miracle, said that’s “what makes Windsor, Windsor.”
“We come together in a time of need and we did, it was just nice to see and it’s a day I’ll never forget that’s for sure,” he said.
The sorting process is currently underway; it could take some time to get that finished. In the meantime, organizers are hoping to have a final tally to put all the speculation to rest in the next few days.
“The people of Windsor are a different group of people,” Reid said. “When times are hard, they’re there to help you.”