By Benjamin Joe
Town of Niagara Supervisor Lee Wallace and the Town Board, in conjunction with John Doran, senior manager of Fashion Outlets of Niagara USA, split up and gave away $50,000 to various charitable groups, including the Town of Niagara Lions and Lioness clubs on Giving Tuesday.
The ceremony was held at Veterans’ Memorial Park in the senior center.
“Every one of the groups that received money and received a donation are certainly deserving of it, and we appreciate everything you do,” Wallace said. “This is our way and the Outlet Mall’s way of saying ‘Thank you.’ I can’t take credit of this, even though I should, but today is national giving day. I didn’t plan it that way, it just happened.”
Honorees included the Aquarium of Niagara, the Belden Center Block Club, All Hands Up Inc., American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Capitol Cleaners “Coats for Kids,” American Legion Post No. 1142, American Red Cross, Heart, Love & Soul Food Pantry, Carolyn’s House, Community Missions of the Niagara Frontier, Empower, HART Interfaith, Health Association of Niagara County, the Kiwanis Club of Niagara-Wheatfield, Mount St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation, National MS Upstate New York Chapter, Niagara County Home Delivered Meals, Niagara County Volunteer Firemen’s Association, the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, Niagara Community Action Program, the Niagara Foster Grandparents program, Niagara Falls Boys and Girls Club, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, Niagara Falls Public Library, NICAP and WNY Heroes.
Mark Baetzhold of Heart, Love & Soul Food Pantry attended the ceremony.
“It’s a great public donation from the Town of Niagara,” he said. “We’re grateful for every contribution we get.”
Molly Sievenpiper of the American Red Cross was also grateful. She said, “The Red Cross responds 24 hours a day, seven days a week to make sure our community is well. I’m so excited. We’re very honored to be working with the Town of Niagara. We encourage people to give blood, especially in the holiday season.”
Maj. Stephen Carroll from The Salvation Army asked more members of the Niagara-Wheatfield community to stand with him.
“We’re struggling from a short season,” he said. “We’re $7,000 behind. We are looking for volunteers. We stand faithfully at the Sanborn Tops, and are looking for people from this area to stand with us, because being local always helps.”
Councilmen Charles Teixeira, Richard Sirianni and Samuel Gatto all commented on this tradition.
“It’s wonderful,” Teixeira said. “Our community is very generous and there is a lot of people in need. The more we help, the better for everybody.”
“It’s a time of giving, and all these organizations throughout the whole year give so much to the community,” Sirianni said. “It’s the town’s honor to work with John (Doran) and to be able to donate to these organizations.”
“I think it’s awesome,” Gatto said. “There’s a lot of good causes and they need money to keep doing good things.”
Doran said, “This is amazing. We’re fortunate to do business with the Town of Niagara. We’re surrounded by partners who do so much for the community.”