Montrealers whole-heartedly answered the call to participate in the first-ever Miracle du 13 Septembre food drive in Montreal, Laval and the South Shore. By donating non-perishable food items and other supplies, neighbours helped neighbours facing the challenges of the pandemic, especially food security.
The Miracle food drive on Sunday, September 13 saw more than 2,000 volunteers pick up shopping bags and boxes from over 10,000 doorways, porches, lobbies and driveways. Some 25,000 kilos of donations were collected and re-distributed to the 200 families who had registered a need and to nearly 100 food banks, social service organizations and other partners, places of worship and community centres. What started as a germ of an idea by organizing committee member Gillian Aitken turned into a massive community effort.
“The outpouring of support for the cause has been overwhelming,” Aitken said. “The pandemic has made many feel helpless in the face of it, and with this food drive, people felt like they were doing something to help. Even a small gesture could make a difference.”
Many food banks were said to be full after their deliveries, unable to accept any more donations for lack of storage space. Some said that with the donations they received on that one day alone, they could serve their communities for a month.
Entire families set off to collect and deliver items. Some volunteers rented vehicles, used car-sharing services or supplied trucks and vans. For some donors, it was their first time donating food to a food bank.
Everyone who participated was part of the miracle, and there are calls to repeat the event. Volunteers are needed and it’s never too late to get involved. The idea has caught on in other large cities like Toronto and Vancouver to hold massive food drives of their own.