Co-operators launches food drive for Goderich
Woolwich & Wellesley Township's Local Community Newspaper | Elmira, Ontario, Canada
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Co-operators launches food drive for Goderich

The Co-operators Insurance and financial office in Elmira has put out a call for non-perishable food items as they have launched a three-week food drive blitz in an attempt to help the people of Goderich.

The Lake Huron community of about 8,000 residents was devastated by an F3 tornado back on Aug. 21 that included winds of between 250 and 300 km/h. A state of emergency was declared following the disaster, and residents are still trying to pick up the pieces after the storm which claimed one life and injured at least 37 others.

More than 100 buildings were also damaged or destroyed by the storm, including the Goderich branch of theCo-operators, which is still operating out of a temporary location until at least the spring.

Employees of the Elmira branch decided they wanted to help.

RESPONDING TO A NEED The Co-operators in Elmira – including Karen Binkley (left), Linda Buchan, Allen Morrison, Allison Knipfel and Stephen Webb – are collecting food for the next three weeks to deliver to Goderich, which is still recovering from a devastating tornado.

“A lot of businesses in the downtown still have not opened, the Sifto salt plant still has not opened, and a lot of people are out of work,” said Allen Morrison of Allen Morrison Insurance in Elmira, an agent with the Co-operators.

“We’ve taken it upon ourselves here at the office to do a food drive for the next three weeks and once it’s all collected we’ll deliver it up to them.”

While the initial response to the disaster was swift – Premier Dalton McGuinty pledged $5 million in disaster relief the day after the tornado – the cleanup has been slow and tedious, and what was once billed as Canada’s “Prettiest Little Town” was transformed into what some witnesses described as a warzone.

Earlier this week the chair of the Goderich and Area Disaster Relief Committee said that they may need more money from the provincial government to speed the recovery process. The committee has already collected more than $1.75 million in donations from surrounding communities, but they estimate they will need to raise a total of $3.5 million in the community, which would translate into $10 million when matched by provincial grants.

In a letter to new Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Kathleen Wynne, Duncan Jewell questioned whether that would be enough money.

Factors compounding costs and slowing repair efforts include the fact that buildings carrying the heritage designation also carry a heftier price tag to repair; the discovery of asbestos in some of the structure; and the fact that property owners were not allowed near their buildings to tarp them against the elements.

“I didn’t realize that there were so many businesses that haven’t opened up yet. It’s costing people their jobs right now at the moment,” said Morrison.

“It’s in our backyard and we’d like to help.”

Anyone interested in donating to the food drive can simply drop off any items at their office at 25 Industrial Dr. in Elmira, or call the office at (519) 669-2632.

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