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Project Connect Niagara, an annual effort designed to connect local residents with critical services, has pivoted during the time of COVID-19. This year, instead of an in-person event, organizers will partner with local providers to make an impact through the distribution of care packages.
Project Connect Niagara has taken place each of the past four summers at Heart, Love & Soul Food Pantry & Dining Room in Niagara Falls, as a one-day, one-stop event. On that day, approximately 300 local residents would attend to engage with as many as 50 different resources on-site. The 2019 version featured a simultaneous job fair at the nearby Niagara Falls Train Station, partnering with the New York State Department of Labor.
With current public health regulations preventing such gatherings, the event’s planning committee shifted its focus to meeting the needs of local residents more directly. Therefore, efforts have been focused on providing more than 400 bags to local food pantries containing food, hygiene items, and gift cards for those that find themselves in need.
“For the past four years, Project Connect Niagara has provided access to community resources to benefit local residents,” the planning committee said in a statement. “This year has presented unforeseen and unprecedented challenges; however, we still wanted to respond and make an impact in some way. We are glad to partner with Heart, Love & Soul, Community Missions, Pinnacle Community Services, and the North Tonawanda Inter-Church Food Pantry to support their efforts in meeting the needs of those they serve.”
Project Connect Niagara is presented by the Niagara County Coalition for Services to the Homeless, in conjunction with its annual Compassionate Niagara Conference. With a goal of making a positive impact on the community, the project aims to form a partnership between community volunteers, city government, nonprofits, and the private sector to provide help for those in need throughout Niagara County.
Partner organizations involved in the event’s planning include The Service Collaborative of WNY, Community Missions, Field and Fork Network, Heart, Love & Soul, Catholic Health, Mount St. Mary’s Hospital, Niagara Alliance for Restorative Practices, Niagara University and the NYS Department of Labor.
For additional information about the event, call 716-286-8750 or email [email protected].