By Zackary Kephart
Special to Niagara Frontier Publications
Beyond what it already does for Niagara County, Community Missions of Niagara Frontier is literally taking a step toward serving its community - several steps, in fact. On Saturday, May 5, the organization will host its annual "Walk for Niagara" at Whirlpool State Park in Niagara Falls. The event helps to raise awareness and funds for the nonprofit organization's crisis and community service programs that provide clothing, food, shelter and other services to those in need.
Director of Communication Christian Hoffman recently spoke with students at Niagara University about the upcoming event, saying the walk is a "fun and easy event" and that "everyone is welcome."
"Walk for Niagara" includes a short, two-mile walk along the Niagara Gorge. Tim Hortons coffee and doughnuts will be provided before the walk begins. Once the walk is over, a hot dog lunch will be provided to all. Individuals or teams who raise the most funds will receive prizes.
In order to sign up for the event, participants are asked to fill out registration and pledge sheets at www.communitymissions.org
or email Events and Volunteer Manager Francesca Catanese at [email protected]
. Participants are asked to collect sponsorship pledges and donations. A minimum of $20 should be collected for individuals walking, and a minimum of $150 should be collected for those walking in teams. Teams should include at least five people. This money can be turned in at check-in, which begins at 10:30 a.m. on the day of the walk. Fundraising can also be completed online HERE
The walk begins at 11:15 a.m.
Individuals may also bring along a dog (or dogs) on a leash should they want to walk with their furry companion(s).
Hoffman said the best part about the event is "how community-focused it is." He noted the walk is a great opportunity for NU students to collect service hours for their school, especially considering they attend a university grounded in serving the community.
Those who cannot make it to the walk but are still looking to help are in luck. Community Missions of Niagara Frontier accepts donations regularly both at its main agency located at 1570 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls, as well as online at https://www.communitymissions.org/
. The organization takes all kinds of donations, including clothing, food, toys, personal care items, baby items, furniture and other household items.
The agency especially needs volunteers around this time of year. To volunteer to help with the organization's everyday activities, either visit directly at its main location, or fill out an online form. To do this, click "Help Us," and then "Volunteer Opportunities."
Since its founding in 1925, Community Missions has been one of the most active charitable foundations in Niagara County. The organization provides other services such as mental health housing and recovery services, plus youth, family and faith services. Hoffman said what sets Community Missions apart from other charitable organizations is that it "simply offers more services, including being the largest provider of mental health services in Niagara County."
In 2017, the organization provided more than 12,045 nights of shelter, 109,727 meals, clothing for 6,920 people and 187 opportunities for faith development. These numbers have steadily increased with each passing year.
In addition to the Walk for Niagara, a golf classic set for June 6 and a duck race slated for later this year, Hoffman said Community Missions hopes to add additional fundraising events in the future.