Dozens of volunteers from CUPE 543 today fanned out across the City of Windsor to provide a complete Thanksgiving dinner to hundreds of residents.

This is the third year in a row that CUPE 543 has teamed up with the Windsor Essex Food Bank Association (WEFBA) to host ‘Operation Giveback,’ providing 600 residents and their families with hampers filled with all the ingredients needed to host a Thanksgiving dinner, complete with all the trimmings.

“As a community, we’ve gone through a lot of very difficult times together, and while the local economy has improved, the need out there is still great,” said Mark Vander Voort, President of CUPE 543.

“Our members feel very strongly that no family should go without during this time of celebration, and that’s why they will be out here over the next few days, doing their part to make Thanksgiving special for 600 people and their families,” he added.

Beginning today, Thanksgiving hampers containing a turkey (for families) or a chicken (for single residents), along with carrots, potatoes, onions, stuffing, apples, cookies and a bag of candy for families with children, will be distributed at 10 food bank locations throughout the City of Windsor.

Throughout the week, CUPE 543 volunteers have been working with food banks and community agencies to pack 600 hampers with a total of 500 turkeys, 100 chickens, nearly 10,000 pounds of potatoes, carrots, onions and apples, as well as 600 bags of cookies and 1,000 bags of candy. Local farms and suppliers donated all the produce for the food hampers.

“We are so grateful for community support we’ve received for ‘Operation Giveback;’ in particular, Pier C Farms in Leamington, which donated the onions and carrots, and Kennette Orchards in Lakeshore for their generous apple donation,” said Vander Voort.

CUPE 543 represents more than 1,500 dedicated public service workers in Windsor, including the City of Windsor inside workers, Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, ABC Day Nursery, Windsor Occupational Health Information Service, Windsor-Essex Community Housing Corporation, Prism Berlie and Great Beginnings Child Centered Co-operative.