Community Missions' annual duck race at the Canal Fest of the Tonawandas will not go on as planned this year in light of New York state gaming laws that have recently been brought to the attention of local nonprofits. These statutes prohibit the use of state-owned property for games of chance.
The decision to cancel the event entirely just a week prior to the start of Canal Fest did not come lightly. However, Community Missions said it's the right thing to do at this time.
"CMI is disappointed that we have to cancel the 2016 duck race," Executive Director Robyn Krueger said. "While some have encouraged us to take a chance and hold the race anyway, we feel this would be unethical behavior, in light of the legal information; and behavior that could damage both the Canal Fest of the Tonawandas' and Community Missions' reputations."
The annual duck race was an eagerly anticipated event that has raised thousands of dollars for the agency's crisis services programs, which include the community soup kitchen, food pantry and emergency housing shelter.
In 2015, Community Missions provided over 86,000 meals and 10,000 nights of care to those in need throughout Niagara County. In addition, support services and residential help is provided to over 1,000 individuals with mental illness.
Community Missions is supportive and heartened by New York State Sen. Robert Ortt's resolve to introduce new legislation in 2017 that will allow this local event to continue in the future. CMI said it's an event that aims to provide the resources needed to continue serving and supporting the growing number of men, women and children who come to the agency in need.
For more information, visit www.communitymissions.org.