timberland galehead Community mourns death of Windsor Goodfellows leader Colleen Renaud
I kind of want the world to stop for just a second and appreciate the hundreds of thousands of people shes touched over the years. If you do a quick calculation the amount of food boxes per year and the average family size the number is staggering.For more than 46 years, Renaudhelped others through the Windsor Goodfellows. She started volunteering for the food bank in her late teens, and took on various roles until she became general manager in the 1980s eventually the organizations only paid position.Colleen Renaud at work at Windsor Goodfellows in 1990.Beaumont said her mothers passion for Goodfellows stemmed from childhood: Renaud came from a family with 19 kids. The sheer number of Renauds siblings meant constant scrimping, saving, and hand me downs. Renaud didnt own a new pair of shoes until she was a teenager.Growing up in poverty, it made her want to help as many people as she possibly could, Beaumont explained.Although Goodfellows are best known for their annual Christmas drive in which volunteers sell special edition newspapers, the charity assists those in need throughout the year.Renauds leadership resulted in several of the current initiatives of Windsor Goodfellows including the childrens footwear program and school breakfast program.She wanted folks to have dignity as well as help, Beaumont said.The holiday season is typically the busiest time of the year for the Goodfellows, with funds from its newspaper sales providing Christmas gifts and meals for families that would otherwise do without.It gets crazy right after Thanksgiving, Beaumont said. It was the happiest (my mother) ever was. Shed wear big, gaudy Christmas sweaters on purpose. Santa hats, bells on her ears, Christmas carols playing with the lights on.Windsor Goodfellows are entirely funded through donations and receive no government grants.Beaumont, 43, has been serving as acting general manager since her mother was diagnosed, and she hopes to continue her mothers legacy.Basically, I grew up here. I consider Windsor Goodfellows to be a part of my immediate family, she said. I would like to honour her memory by making sure that her mandate keeps going: We help as many people as possible in as many ways as possible.True to Renauds character, her generosity extended even in death: Her eyes were given to the organ donor program.Colleen Renaud collects donations for Windsor Goodfellows during Easter 2016.News of Renauds death spread quickly, with many prominent members of the community offering their condolences and respects. Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens issued a statement on Facebook on Thursday morning paying tribute to Renaud.Im deeply saddened to say goodbye to such a wonderful person who has done so much good for our community, wrote Dilkens, who noted that he began volunteering for the Goodfellows when he was 16.Im a better person for having known her, as are the tens of thousands of people she has helped over the years. On behalf of all Windsorites, I extend my deepest appreciation and say thank you to such a special lady You made our city better.Beaumont said Dilkens also contacted her personally and will be contributing remarks to be read at Renauds funeral service. For him to reach out while travelling overseas was very touching.Renaud is survived by her husband of 47 years, Randy, three children, six grandchildren, and numerous extended family members.Beaumont said her mothers number one hobby was attending the activities of her grandchildren. She would travel to Chicago for my daughters cheerleading events, Ottawa for my nephews football games. If there was an event, she was there.Colleen Renaud (centre) with her husband Randy and their grandchildren in 2016.Beaumont said theres a plaque at Windsor Goodfellows that jokes about her mothers nature.At Goodfellows, we have rules in place. You need to show certain things ID and that sort of thing, Beaumont said.