The old adage, 'when the going gets tough, the tough get going' capsulates the 2008 WE CARE.WE CAN Food Drive, a partnership between local rotary clubs, The Greater Essex County DSB, the Windsor Spitfires Junior Hockey club, local food bank associations and Mayflower/ Rose City Moving Company.


"Windsor and Essex County are going through some pretty tough economic times...the need this year for food banks has increased by 20 percent over last years numbers. Folks that gave food last year are coming to the banks this year as users... an ironic twist of fate for sure" said Windsor St. Clair Rotarian Arnie Charlton, the primary organizer and driving force behind the success of the food drive.

Last year, the food drive collected over 250,000 pounds of non-perishable food and this year the total jumped to over 280,000 pounds - which equates to approximately 320,200 cans. Volunteers estimates they visited 51 different locations and delivered the donated cans to one central food bank location.

Area Rotary Club's collected different types of food. A club with a morning meeting collected cold and hot cereals, club's meeting at lunchtime collected proteins such as tuna and salmon and clubs meeting in the evening collected peanut butter and pastas. This year there was a far greater diversity of donated foods with an emphasis on healthier foods, said Charlton. Additionally, many Rotarian's dedicated a great deal of time at the main food bank sorting and stacking all the foods being delivered.

On December 16, the Windsor Spitfires hosted the WE CARE.WE CAN Food Drive at the new Windsor Family Credit Union Centre. Mayflower trucks were parked at the front entrances and collected over 3,700 cans of non-perishables. The Spitfire Organization deserves thanks for giving game tickets to all the volunteers working the event.

The success of the whole project hinged on the participation of area schools. They were asked to participate in the food drive as a component of the school board character development program which teaches the value of sharing and caring. Many of the participating schools were located in areas affected by the economic downturn but they proved to be generous with their donations. Many schools rewarded students with pizza parties for the classes that donated the most food.

"I would declare that our food drive campaign was a total success from every possible perspective. You get a wonderful feeling when you realize just how many people you've assisted in these tough times. Someone mentioned to me that they were only one pay check away from having to use the food banks themselves..... that comment really hit home with me. We should all be very thankful for what we have" said Charlton.

Kudos to Arnie Charlton and his volunteers for their tireless work and commitment to the project. Well done all!