By Jenna Cocullo
Wallaceburg resident Tim English is organizing a weeklong door-to-door food drive in the wake of shortages at the local food bank.
“It is apparent that the shelves are getting empty and not receiving the donations they normally would. I am concerned that as shelves are becoming more empty while the need is getting bigger. So my wife and I wanted to try and do something,” English said.
Donations from English’s food drive will be split evenly between the local Salvation Army’s and St. Vincent De Paul’s pantries.
In order to help, yet ensure everyone remains safe and socially distanced, English has split the food drive over the course of five days. Other families who are volunteering to collect food will use their own vehicles while wearing masks and gloves to pick up the food. Everything will also be wiped down with Lysol before they get dropped off to the local food banks, English said.
He is asking residents to leave their donations by the front door and clearly label that the bags are for the COVID-19 food drive.
Volunteers will not be picking up from apartment buildings, however, English said anyone who wants to donate can leave a bag by the front door of his business, Screenart, located at 110 Arnold St. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week.
“With just everything that is going on we need neighbours helping neighbours,” he said. “It is a really good community. When we get up against the wall and something happens we always pull through.”
The door-to-door drive will take place at 3 p.m. Monday-Friday. Residents can visit “Wallaceburg’s COVID 19 Food Drive” page on Facebook to find out what day English will be collecting from their street.
“I’ve never done this sort of thing before but hope it goes well and see what happens,” English said.
Meanwhile, on April 2, Wallaceburg resident, Jennifer Eagleson, 32, was supporting the community she has lived in her whole life by organizing a Courage Convoy around town.
More than 30 vehicles drove up and down the streets of Wallaceburg, waving to police and fire services, nurses and the nursing home staff, emergency medical services, and passing by the houses of other employees working on the frontlines.
Dozens of cars were decorated with posters and signs sending messages of encouragement to the community at large and gratitude to workers who put themselves at risk.
“I lived here all my life and have family and friends in a lot of those (frontline) organizations. I wanted to show that we are forever grateful for what they do,” said Eagleson.
She got the idea from another small Ontario community that organized a Parade of Hope, put together by local businesses. She then heard a statement from the Tragically Hip where they encouraged people to play “Courage” at 6 p.m. on Saturday nights. She combined the two ideas and came up with the Courage Convoy with friends Michelle Medd and Heather Little Blake.
Eagleson is working on organizing a convoy in Chatham and seeing if there is interest in making this a weekly event in Wallaceburg. She said she reached out to the mayor who has given his full support so long as everyone is in their own cars and practicing safe social distancing.
“All we want to do is bring smiles to workers’ faces and the people who feel shut-in.”