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With the cost of living skyrocketing and more people going hungry, local food banks are hoping Essex County residents will venture past their front doors on Monday to help those in need.

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The annual June 27th Miracle food drive returns Monday — with a switch from front porch pickups to collecting donations at drop-off points — during a typically tough time of year for food banks.

“During the summer months we don’t get a lot of donations,” said June Muir, CEO of the Unemployed Help Center (UHC) – Hub of Opportunities and president of the Windsor-Essex Food Bank Association. “A lot of people go on vacation. It’s not Christmas time, it’s not Thanksgiving. So we don’t get a lot of donations. With the cost of living, people still haven’t recovered from the pandemic, so we are still serving a lot of families.”

In 2020 and 2021, June 27th Miracle organizers encouraged people to put non-perishable food and toiletries on their doorsteps for volunteers to pick up. This year’s food drive is going from “porch to pantry,” with organizers asking people to bring the items to one of many food banks and charities across Essex County on Monday.

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Some organizations, including Windsor Youth Center and Be the Light Outreach Ministries in Amherstburg, are doing early collections over the weekend.

“We’re just trying to get the message out that you can pick your favorite food bank,” Muir said.

Local food banks need high protein foods such as canned meat and tuna, along with cereal, snacks for children and hygiene products, she said. If you can’t get to a food bank, you can make a monetary donation through the UHC website.

“What we do with those monetary donations is buy eggs, milk, meat, whatever we can’t get donated,” said Muir. “So it’s all very helpful. It’s a great opportunity to help us with the cost of food.”

In 2020, the Windsor Essex Food Bank Association, which represents 15 food banks, received 275,000 pounds of food. Last year, Muir said he received 150,000 pounds of food.

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“These donations helped us to serve the people who needed it most during a very difficult time,” Muir said. “During 2020 and 2021 there was a pandemic, and many people were collecting EI or they were out of work. So we helped many individuals.”

While the donations declined, the need did not.

From April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020, the Windsor Essex Food Bank Association served about 149,000 people. Between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2022, it served 162,000 people.

“You can see that the need is growing,” said Muir. “The cost of living has increased. Rent has increased. Food has increased. That last thing people will buy is food. They’ll pay their rent, they’ll pay their utilities, and unfortunately there’s not a lot left over for food.”

For details about food bank locations and hours, or to make a monetary donation, go to More details are also available on the Windsor Essex Food Bank Association website.

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