Virtual concert, donations go to support May 16th Miracle

May 16th Miracle. (Submitted photo).

Individuals and businesses are teaming together — albeit from a distance — in an effort to pull off the largest food drive in Chatham-Kent’s history.

Organizers behind the May 16th Miracle started planning the initiative last month with local food banks running low on supplies due to circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. On Saturday, some volunteers will go door-to-door collecting non-perishable items to fill the shelves of food banks across Chatham-Kent.

However, in light of COVID-19, organizers have been working alongside the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit to ensure proper sanitary measures are taken.

“We very much are in favour of this initiative. I think it’s just a fantastic program to serve people in need,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby. “The health unit has been involved since the get-go in the planning of this to make sure that there are no hazards to anybody in the process — whether it’s the volunteers, the organizers, or the recipients.”

Organizers have released safety protocols ahead of this weekend’s food drive. Volunteers will adhere to their own handling protocols with protective equipment but residents are also asked to do their part by washing their hands and wiping down items for donation before putting them out for pick-up.

Rural residents who are planning to drop-off items at a designated site are also asked to wipe down the items and depot volunteers will remove the donations for the vehicle. Drop-off locations and other safety measures outlined can be found by clicking, here.

“I can’t remember the last time Chatham-Kent has come together quite like this,” said Mayor Darrin Canniff. “We’re really excited about it but I want to emphasize again the safety aspect. I have heard some concerns saying that this is a gathering or various things, but we have been very diligent in working with all of the authorities, including Dr. Colby, on maintaining safety.”

Aside from the hundreds of individuals who have volunteered to take part and organize the May 16th Miracle, businesses and organizations are also showing support.

DPM Insurance Group’s four Chatham-Kent offices, with the support from Kent and Essex Mutual Insurance Company, have donated $6,000 to the cause.

The Chatham-Kent Police Service has also donated $2,500. Several members of the police service will also help out as volunteers on Saturday.

Agents from Realty Connects Inc. have also donated $2,000 in gift cards to the cause. Members of the Chatham-Kent Realtors Associations will also volunteer at a food drop-off location on Saturday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at their new office location, 425 McNaughton Avenue West.

In the meantime, Medisun is putting up a virtual benefit concert to support the May 16th Miracle and show appreciation for essential workers. The concert will be shown on YouTube and include country artists Clayton Bellamy of The Road Hammers, and Dan Davidson, along with local artists such as Christee Palace, and Steve Denomme. The concert will be held on May 15 at 7 p.m. Donations can be made by clicking, here.