NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – Every year on the Tuesday right after Thanksgiving, community members step up to help out organizations that serve their neighbors in need.
This year, volunteers from Niagara University and local high schools have come together at the Community Missions of Niagara Frontier to do their part.
Niagara University Vincentian Scholars worked Tuesday morning to make a hot breakfast for Community Missions clients, while high schoolers donated their time in the Food Pantry and Clothes Closet. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community, nd it’s a way to re-energize the city of Niagara falls and it’s just an excellent opportunity and a wonderful morning,” said Jacob Tucker, a Niagara University freshman volunteering in the kitchen Tuesday.
Community Missions needs all the volunteers and donors it can get, especially now with an increasing need for services.
Demand for meals from the food pantry, for example, has increased 51 percent this year. “We served a little over 30,000 meals over the first ten months of 2016. This year, we’ve already provided over 46,000 meals, so a huge increase that we’ve seen here,” said Christian Hoffman, Communications & Development Manager fo Community Missions. “It’s been difficult for us to make that happen, but we haven’t had to turn anyone away.”
When it comes to housing services, though, Community Missions is stretched just about as far it can go. The shelter is at capacity.
“We are seeing about a 22 percent increase overall in people coming in and needing place to stay, and even more disheartening is a 34 percent increase in children,” Hoffman said.
Community Missions counts on community members to help it continue serving its clients at the shelter and around our community, whether that means donating clothes and household goods for the Clothes Closet or simply going out to eat this week at a restaurant taking part in this year’s Dining for Dollars campaign.
Beginning on November 28, five local restaurants are participating in “Dining for Dollars,” a week-long event where each property will donate a portion of their sales to Community Missions. Participating restaurants include:
* Rainforest Cafe, 300 3rd St., Niagara Falls, NY – (716) 278-2626 – Will donate 10% of sales on Tuesday, 11/28.
* TGI Friday’s, 300 3rd St., Niagara Falls, NY – (716) 282-2580 – Will donate 10% of sales on Wednesday, 11/29.
* Power City Eatery, 444 3rd St., Niagara Falls, NY – (716) 304-1990 – Will donate 10% of sales on Friday, 12/1.
* Third Street Retreat, 250 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY – (716) 371-0760 – Will donate 10% of sales on Saturday, 12/2.
* Village Bake Shoppe, 417 Center St., Lewiston, NY – (716) 754-2300 – Will donate $1 for each Cake in A Cup sold between Monday, 11/27 – Friday, 12/1.
“Donating and being able to be part of the community has always been important,” said Kallie Castetter, co-owner of the Third Street Retreat. “It’s just something that anyone should do.”
News 4’s Katie Alexander had the chance to meet with Community Missions volunteers and Third Street Retreat leaders Tuesday morning. Click on the videos below to see our full Giving Tuesday Wake Up coverage.