It was a good run but, after 106 years, The Windsor Goodfellows annual newspaper drive is taking a hiatus from its usual close-up exchange in favour of an event more in line with current public health restrictions.
On Thursday, president of the local charity, Art Reid, confirmed to CTV News the drive would take a different form this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If just one incident happened, we could spoil our reputation as a charity,” said Reid. “We couldn’t do it.”
Reid says the group even worked with Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens but could not find a responsible way to set up on street corners across the city and hand over newspapers for donations, adding having volunteers in close contact with the public put them at risk for continuing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Instead, Reid says the new plan will allow for contactless exchanges.
Tables with the Goodfellows edition of the Windsor Star will be set up at locations across the city to allow the public to pick up a paper and drop off a donation. Volunteers will be stationed nearby, physically distanced, to monitor the table and answer any questions.
Reid, who moved to the area from Newfoundland, said Windsor’s appetite for generosity has been a welcome surprise – pointing to the June 27 Miracle Food Drive, which gathered two million pounds of food in a day, as an encouraging sign of the group’s prospects.
“With that on the shoulders of people of Windsor, I’m 100 per cent sure when they hear us making this plea to them they’re going to come forward and help us because they always have,” said Reid.
Last year’s annual event raised $380,000 and, according to Reid, more may be needed this year with the charity seeing a 25 per cent increase in the amount of food it is distributing.
The annual newspaper drive is scheduled for Nov. 26, 27 and 28.