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Once again, Chatham-Kent comes through!

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Well I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that once again, Chatham-Kent has shown its collective concern for one another with another hugely successful event.

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On Saturday, volunteers from one end of the municipality to the other drove down streets collecting donations from porches, front steps and so on, while others manned collection sites where community members could drop off their donations.

Like the jolly old soul himself these dedicated volunteers from The Gift CK were fast and they were quiet. We put our stuff out just before noon and the next time I looked they had magically disappeared and I hadn’t heard a thing!

Before long, I started to see social media photos and videos of the ongoing event and I have to tell you that in the midst of so much upset it was incredibly heartwarming to see the true spirit of CK shining through.

This year, none of us have been left unscathed by the ravages of this global pandemic, whether it’s physically, financially or emotionally.

Our world has been turned upside down and while there are certainly glimmers of hope on the horizon, they’re still distant.

Having something as positive as The Gift CK to focus on has been a nice distraction from everything else, but more importantly, provided an opportunity for CK’ers to do what we do best, which is care for one another.

Unlike the ‘Miracle’ back in May, this time we were asked to donate toys in addition to food and other much-needed items for those who are struggling this year and once again, CK stepped up big time.

Full warehouses and overflowing bins were the name of the game on Saturday, and volunteers have been working tirelessly ever since.

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Collecting the donations was just the first step and much of this week and possibly beyond will be spent sorting and then the monumental task of packing and distributing will begin.

The other challenge facing those at the forefront of The Gift is making sure that nobody in need in our community is missed.

It isn’t easy to ask for help and many people who are in need this year are people who have typically been on the giving end of things, who may find it especially difficult to reach out.

But, I truly believe that one of the reasons Chatham-Kent is so successful in our charity drives is because so many of us understand what it’s like to go without. There’s no shame in needing a little help and it’s clear that your friends and neighbours are more than happy to offer it.

If you are someone or know someone who is in need, please don’t hesitate to reach out. It’s there, waiting for you.

Over the years, our community has suffered through much in terms of job loss, the disappearance of so much of our industry, and yes, even an amalgamation which, let’s face it, nobody really wanted.

But our adversities have hopefully made us stronger, and they have certainly made us more empathetic.

Years ago when I worked at the newspaper in Sarnia, I remember constantly being surprised when parallel fundraisers in both Sarnia and here in CK, where I lived were held. Despite the fact that Sarnia is/was a wealthier community, we always outshone them with the numbers of people participating and the dollars raised, and I certainly let my fellow journalists know about it!

Our May Miracle inspired other communities to do their own events, and now we’ve shown what can be done when we all work together with The Gift.

Let’s give ourselves a collective pat on the shoulders for a job well done and a huge round of thanks to all those who volunteered and continue to do so to make this event such a tremendous success.

Stay well my friends.

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