Local volunteers giving The Gift of community support

·2 min read

Chatham-Kent volunteers are teaming up to ensure every person in the municipality has a happy holiday during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizers have put out a call for help and say momentum is already building across Chatham-Kent for “The Gift”.

The Gift is expected to be the biggest community holiday hamper program in Chatham-Kent history. To date, 23 community hamper organizations, citizens and other groups from across the municipality have joined together to ensure no one is left behind.

The Gift will be taking place on November 21 at noon. Residents across Chatham-Kent are encouraged to place a present on their doorstep, and an event volunteer will pick it up, and it will be donated to a community member in need.

“In just 15 days, more than 1500 volunteers, over 100 community captains and over 30 organizations officially registered for The Gift,” said Brent Wilken, member of The Gift Planning Committee. “A truly rare opportunity has risen to see what it feels like for so many less to be forgotten this holiday.”

The concept was inspired by the May 16 Miracle in Chatham-Kent, where residents placed non-perishable food items on their doorsteps. Over 678,200 pounds of food was collected during the initiative and donated to local Food Banks.

Charlie Mitton was a community captain for the Ridgetown area for the May 16 Miracle and said the project was very inspirational for all involved. Mitton is also a community captain for The Gift, along with - Paul Brown, Jennifer Johns, and Amber Nussey.

“I would like to thank all the Ridgetown residents who volunteered and made donations to the May 16 Miracle; it was so inspiring to see our community come together then, and I know we can do it again November 21,” said Mitton.

Volunteers will be going to every home in the municipality to collect items. No registration is required. There will also be drop off depots for those living in rural areas - South West Agromart, the Morpeth Hall and The Bayview Market at Rondeau will all be rural drop off locations again this time. Any smaller communities that wish to do door-to-door pick up are asked to decide by November 5.

“During these past two weeks, a call is being answered in historic fashion, with more enthusiasm and energy than we ever could have imagined,” said Wilken. “This is the heartwarming grounds well of support that is already building momentum across Chatham-Kent for The Gift.”

Besides donating, there are several other ways people can get involved with The Gift, including helping with the pickups, sign making, acting as a community captain and sorting and distributing the donations.

The Gift is open to everyone. All those wanting to help are encouraged to register at thegiftck.ca or email thegiftck.ca@gmail.com.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News