Over 200 North Tonawanda families will receive help from Box of Hope again this Christmas. Every child, 18 and under, in all of the registered households will receive a gift along with a box of nonperishable food items delivered to their home on Dec. 19.
Box of Hope has been an outreach that is coordinated through a partnership between the North Tonawanda School district and a few local churches. This year, a few local businesses and The North Tonawanda Professional Firefighters Benevolence Association have joined the efforts.
“This is the fifth year we’ve partnered with the school district to help families that need a little help for Christmas,” said Pastor Chad Rieselman from Lumber City Church in North Tonawanda. “We’re really excited that the Professional Firefighters have sponsored so many families and that local businesses like Timberstrength and Howard Hanna Realty are doing food drives for us.”
Hundreds of boxes are distributed throughout all of the school buildings in the North Tonawanda School district. Students are challenged to help fill those boxes by bringing in one of 12 specific food items. The full boxes are gathered from the schools and given to sponsors to deliver on Dec. 19 along with a wrapped gift that they have purchased for each child. When the gifts and the unmistakable yellow boxes arrive at the homes of the children of registered families, the children get to see it was their community, their peers and fellow students that came together to provide for them.
“Box of Hope is not an organization, it’s a movement,” Rieselman added. “We want to show our community that hope never needs to be organized. It’s about neighbors helping neighbors. Our dream is to teach our kids that it’s our responsibility to care for each other.”
And that dream is coming true. Each year, with a small amount of organizing efforts, Box of Hope outreaches distribute around $50,000 worth of goods to families in need in North Tonawanda through their three main outreaches as well as through the help they provide to families in crisis situations.