Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative
Tilbury power couple Lynn Authier and husband, West Kent Coun. Mark Authier, are printing up signs to thank frontline workers while also raising money for the food banks.
What started out as four signs of gratitude quickly turned into 800 sold and $4,500 raised.
Printed messages that reads “THANK YOU FRONT LINE” accompanied by multi-coloured hearts, can be found all over the streets of Tilbury, Wheatley and Chatham. Some made it as far as Windsor and Point Edward.
Authier Print & Promotional Ltd., like every other non-essential business was forced to close their office doors taking orders from home. One day a neighbour asked Lynn to make him a sign thanking frontline workers so she did, and also created one for her front lawn.
“So I put it up and I took a picture. Then I said to Mark ‘we should put this up on Facebook, see if we can sell some and donate some of the money to the food bank.’” Lynn Authier explained.
The couple grossly underestimated the amount of signs they would need as the first four orders turned into demand they currently cannot keep up with.
A regular sign costs $12 and a bumper sticker $7, with $2 from each sale going toward the local food bank.A large two by three foot sign can also be bought for $45 with $5 donated.
The Authiers have been able to donate more than they sold thanks to the generosity from their community.
“Some people also drop by and say ‘keep the change to give to the food bank’ and some just donate without buying a sign at all. It’s incredible,” said Coun. Authier.
An anonymous donation of $2,200 worth of local grocery gift cards was also delivered to the Authiers to give to the food bank.
The Tilbury Information and H.E.L.P Centre, programmed by United Way Chatham, runs the local food bank.
Manager Rose-Ann Mayor said normally the food bank haul from Christmas donations lasts until spring. With the pandemic leaving so many residents with lower income that stock is now depleted.
“Now we are able to go to the grocery store and purchase all the items we need,” she said. “Even in areas where we previously lacked like milk, eggs, meat and cheeses. It’s very overwhelming. We never considered that kind of outpour from the community,” she said.
Coun. Authier also wanted to give back to the Wheatley community who have been very enthusiastic about the signs.
“We donated $200 to the Wheatley food bank just because of the number of signs I got from Wheatley,” he said.
Coun. Authier is hoping to reach a goal of $5,000 and will continue the initiative after he reaches it.
“We’re so happy for the support we received from the community,” he said.
Giving back is not new to the Authiers who also plan the annual Terry Fox run in Tilbury and recently took over planning Art in Memorial Park.
Coun. Authier will also be serving as one of four Tilbury captains for the upcoming May 16 Miracle.
READ MORE: ‘One can, one doorstep, May 16’