Local eateries donating to Community Missions
By Sarah Rance
Special to NFP
Community Missions of Niagara Frontier has big plans for Giving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday), which is Nov. 29. More than 100 volunteers will visit the agency as part of the event, while many collections throughout the area are also planned.
The community will also have a chance to get involved, as the nonprofit agency is partnering with local restaurants, including Rainforest Café, TGI Fridays, Power City Eatery, The Village Bake Shoppe and Panera. These restaurants will donate a portion of their sales to the agency, setting a standard for giving.
"We are working with Community Missions, participating in Giving Tuesday," said Geoffrey Reeds, executive director of sales and marketing for American Niagara Hospitality. "This is our second year. We are contributing 10 percent of the day's revenue from Rainforest Café and TGI Fridays to support the services of Community Missions.
"As a major employer in Niagara Falls and principal player in the hospitality industry, we are excited to play a role in supporting an organization that does such positive work. We also donate many products such as sheets, blankets, pillows, etc., which we take from our inventory."
At the Village Bake Shoppe in Lewiston, $1 from every "Cake in a Cup" purchased from Nov. 21-25 will go to Community Missions.
Mike Fiore, owner of the Village Bake Shoppe, said the Bible verse Luke 12:48 inspires him to give back. In the New American Standard Bible, the Gospel passage reads, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more."
"I find that it's very important to give back, when you've been given a lot," Fiore said. "We've been very successful these last five years, and there's a lot of need in the community. I want to give back as much as I can."
Along with help from local businesses, Community Missions will also receive help from volunteers. A group of high school students will be helping by sorting clothes, making Christmas cards, wrapping gifts and working in the soup kitchen. Community Missions is also looking for Niagara University students to arrive at the agency and prepare breakfast at 6:30 a.m. that day.
Community Missions has been active in the community for decades. Founded in 1925, the organization has grown to have 19 different programs in 14 different locations throughout Niagara County.
"We provided 87,000 meals last year," said Christian Hoffman, communications and development manager of Community Missions.
The organization has a soup kitchen that is open six days a week.
"There are no income requirements," Hoffman said. "Anyone can just come and grab a meal."
In addition to providing food through their soup kitchen and also a food pantry, Community Missions provides an array of other services, as well, such as shelter for the homeless, crisis services, clothing, housing for parolees and those at risk, mental illness programs, and more.
Last year, Community Missions provided over 10,000 nights of shelter to those in need.
Community Missions' goal is to help people transition back into the community.
"We're just trying to get everyone back to where they want to be," Hoffman said.
Sarah Rance is a student at Niagara University. She prepared this story as part of her CMS 120B course.