'We need a miracle!' Windsor food bank broken into night before Miracle Food Drive

Volunteers and staff at the Divine Mercy Food Bank on Wyandotte Street East are hoping for a miracle after they say they were broken into Sunday night or early Monday morning.

They say thousands of dollars worth of food, clothing and toy donations were taken while other things like office supplies and desks were rummaged through.

“Oh yeah, what a miracle this is eh? We need a miracle,” laughed Yvette Drouillard, president of Divine Mercy Food Bank Conference.

“We were just broken into two months ago and we had over $3,000 worth of stuff,” Drouillard explained. “We were just getting back on our feet and this happens. And on what a day?”

Volunteers say they assist over 5,000 families in need in central Windsor and that they were eager for the June 27th Miracle Food Drive, even though the Wyandotte St. office wasn’t considered a drop-off location for donations.

When staff arrived Monday morning they discovered empty shelves and a damaged garage door in the back of the building.

Drouillard said they also found several pairs of gloves left lying in different locations of the food bank. She says they’ve been in contact with Windsor police adding a neighbouring business was also broken into.

“It's heartbreaking to tell you the truth because everybody comes in, all the volunteers and they're going, ‘What the, you know, happened?”

Drouillard tells CTV News they’re praying Monday’s regional food drive will be successful after changes to the collecting model for donations were made.

“The community is great,” Drouillard continued. “We've always had support from them. You know, we get donations dropped off all the time. So you know, whatever they can do, they can do.”

Volunteer Cathy Myers says she wanted to cry when she learned of the ordeal.

“I was in tears, like, we work so hard,” she said.

“We're a volunteer place. We take donations, we don't take anything else. We have to buy the stuff that we're missing. I was in tears it’s like, I can't tell you what the thought I had for them was or what I wanted to say.”

Meanwhile, June 27 Miracle organizers are hailing the annual food drive a success, despite not being able to weigh donations to know how much was gathered as in previous years.

“We've had a lot of other organizations today alone say how can we get on board next year to make it bigger and better? Maybe utilize a tap donation or maybe a telethon or something,” organizer Morgan Ryan said.

Ryan says officials want the day to become synonymous with making donations to Windsor-Essex food banks, suggesting options are being explored for 2023.

“Will porch pickups continue? Maybe,” Ryan said. “Maybe next year. Who knows?”

Ryan notes donations can still be dropped off if you were unable to give on Monday.

“I don't think we knew this grassroots organization was going to kind of become what it has, but we're so glad that it has,” Ryan said.

“Pick your favourite charity, maybe swing by. Maybe your local church does a collection you know on your own time. Even if it's not today, if it's this week, drop it off and say you're representing the June 27 Miracle and that food's going get to somebody in need.”