Thursday may have been Thanksgiving Day for the U.S. rather than Canada, but volunteers with the Windsor Youth Centre still took the occasion to do some giving — bringing free lunches to downtown streets.
“We don’t want to leave anyone hungry out in the cold,” said Patricia Caron, a Windsor Youth Centre volunteer.
Caron said she’s been hanging onto the idea ever since she herself was homeless about a year ago in London — and she was given a free lunch by a volunteer organization there.
WYC executive director Tamara Kowalska said the initiative was driven by Caron and other youth centre volunteers who have experienced times of need.
“Once you know what it’s like to be hungry, you don’t forget. And you don’t ever want anyone else to feel that way,” Kowalska said.
Volunteers packed 50 paper bag lunches in total. Each bag contained a hearty burrito, a juice box, two homemade granola bars, an apple, paper napkins, and a handwritten note on a WYC business card.
Every personal message was different, ranging from a simple “Have a great day” to the complimentary “You have a great smile.”
The burritos — made by volunteers Edwin and Ashraf — contained ground beef, rice, beans, cheese and sour cream.
“Homeless people don’t have to think about calories,” volunteer Amber Millar quipped.
Windsor Youth Centre administrative assistant Donna Roy said the intention was for each bag lunch to be a complete meal.
After loading a minivan with the lunches, WYC volunteers roamed the downtown core on foot, looking for hungry people in need.
The first recipient of a bag was Claude — a man with a ragged backpack who was found wandering the parking lot of the Food Basics store on Goyeau Street.
Claude said he has been living at the Salvation Army.
“I have kids myself, a granddaughter,” Claude told volunteers. “I’m happy you guys are out doing this.”