'NYSARC Gives Back'by jmaloni
Local chapter collects 135 pounds of food
Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara, the Niagara County Chapter of NYSARC Inc., celebrated Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month this March with a month-long special project. Under the banner of "NYSARC Gives Back," OUN program participants (adults with developmental disabilities) and employees joined together with the leadership of two self-advocacy groups from Niagara Falls and Lockport to collect non-perishable food donations for the Niagara Community Action Program of the Food Bank of Western New York.
"The goal of the President's Project Week is to have all NYSARC chapters participate in a volunteer program during the week, reflecting our collective ability to give back to the communities who give us so much throughout the year. NYSARC has partnered with the Food Bank Association of NYS," said Jack A. Schuppenhauer, Esq., NYSARC president. All food donations will help families across Niagara County through the Niagara Community Action Program and the Food Bank of Western New York.
"As Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara serves individuals with developmental disabilities and their families from across Niagara County, it was a priority to partner with an organization like the Niagara Community Action Program that served people county-wide as well," remarked Connie S. Brown, OUN executive director.
Chris Rifenbark, president of the Niagara Falls Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara Self Advocacy Group, and Roxane Albond-Buchner, manager of communications for Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara, delivered more than 135 pounds of donations to representatives from the Niagara Community Action Program at their Niagara Falls distribution center on Wednesday.
Upon receiving the donation, Suzanne Shears, NCAP executive director, said, "On behalf of our board of directors, I wish to thank the employees and participants of Opportunities Unlimited for their efforts in collecting the large donation of non-perishable food items.These items will be distributed to needy families throughout Niagara County. This is the second year of such a successful drive. Thank you so much."
Carol Palumbo, NCAP family development and nutrition supervisor, added, "I just wanted to say on behalf of our food providers how much we appreciate Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara and your efforts to assist those in need in Niagara County. Working together makes our community stronger."
Also on hand to accept the donations were representatives from two of the 40 providers who receive food each year through NCAP: Margaret Hurey, agency coordinator for Divine Mercy Food Pantry, and Yolanda Porter, coordinator for Word of Life Ministries.