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Building a wall ... of generosity

by jmaloni
Thu, Dec 20th 2018 04:05 pm
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Niagara elder Betsy Diachun and Community Missions Director of Communication Christian Hoffman stand with some of the items collected as part of the church's `wall of generosity` project.
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Niagara elder Betsy Diachun and Community Missions Director of Communication Christian Hoffman stand with some of the items collected as part of the church's "wall of generosity" project.

In an effort to help the less-fortunate – and playing off an idea often debated in news outlets – First Unitarian Universalist Church of Niagara “built a wall.” This structure, however, wasn’t meant to keep anyone out, but rather to be a source of comfort for people helped by Community Missions.

The “wall” of nonperishables was torn down Thursday, so items could be sent off to the Community Missions food pantry.

Church elder Betsy Diachun said, “We were just trying to do something to make it interesting for our parishioners.”

She explained, “Last year, we had a huge Christmas tree made out of toilet paper rolls, which we had heard that Heart, Love & Soul was looking for. And so then we distributed them there. And we also put some clothes along the fenceposts out here – scarves and mittens. That didn't work out as well, but we still were trying. So, we had to have a new idea this year to display our Christmas generosity and cheer. We decided we’d build our ‘wall of gratitude.’

“And since walls are in the paper nowadays, that's how it got started.”

About 200 items were collected, and “they all came from parishioners, and also friends of the church,” Diachun said. “We have very few parishioners that are active now, so this is a good turnout for us.”

Community Missions Director of Communication Christian Hoffman said the foodstuffs “will go to great use.”

He said, “In 2017, we provided around 109,000 meals. In 2018, we’ll probably be somewhere between 110,000 and 120,000 meals. Something like this would probably be able to serve, I would say, 25 to 30 or 40 families or so. And certainly, this time of year, November and December, are our busiest. Of course, everyone that's out there tends to come around for holiday help, in particular. Obviously, bills come about a lot this time of year. Certainly, dollars are stretched thin this time of year, as everyone wants to help out at Christmas time. We are able to help out with a lot of different people during this time of year.”

Diachun said Community Missions was selected to receive the donations because “they certainly help people find housing, take care of the people who have nothing, as well as people with maybe mental health issues. And we see in the community that they do help a lot.”

The "wall"

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