By Kaylee Brennan
Special to Niagara Frontier Publications
The holidays are quickly approaching, which means it is officially the giving season. Community Missions of Niagara Frontier is welcoming donations and volunteers as it prepares for its annual celebration of #GivingTuesday.
The Tuesday after Thanksgiving was officially announced as the “global day of giving” back in 2012. It lies after other well-known shopping holidays such as Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday is an annual, global movement that inspires people to “give, collaborate and celebrate generosity” (givingtuesday.org). Although nonprofits including Community Missions provide services and basic necessities to those who are less fortunate 24/7, Giving Tuesday is an opportunity for these organizations to bring awareness to their mission and to highlight the importance of giving to the general public.
Vice President for Public Relations and Development Christian Hoffman said, “Giving Tuesday is the idea of giving back to whatever causes that you support during the holiday season.” He added, “It is about bringing the focus back to giving.”
Community Missions is the largest private provider of basic needs and the largest private provider of mental health services in Niagara County. The agency has 21 programs between its four divisions: crisis and community services, mental health housing services, mental health recovery services and youth services. Services include its soup kitchen, food pantry and a “Clothes Closet” that gives free clothing, household items and furniture. It offers emergency housing for individuals and families, including those who have recently been released from incarceration and others with an AIDS-specific diagnosis. Community Missions provides many services and is committed to helping those in need every day.
The pandemic slightly affected the mission’s system. At the height of COVID-19, the number of families and households in which the organization helped increased from 150 families to nearly 600.
According to Hoffman, “COVID was the perfect storm where our demand went absolutely through the roof and we lost all of our volunteers as well.”
With the help of its partnerships with Tops, Wegmans, Metz Catering Company and others, Community Missions was able to meet the demand for food from those nearly 600 households.
Currently, the pantry is aiding around 250 families, which is still a greater amount than before the pandemic.
Community Missions takes part in Giving Tuesday every year. With help from restaurants and bakeries that donate a portion of their sales during the week of the holiday, it can provide meals to the hungry each day.
Things will look a little different this year due to COVID-19, but Community Missions still plans on celebrating the holiday. On the morning of Nov. 30, Community Missions would love to see vaccinated volunteers come out and help to provide warm breakfasts at 1570 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls.
Donations of food items, personal care items, clothing, baby items, household items, money, holiday dinners, gifts and winter gear are greatly appreciated.
Click here to make an online donation.
√ Village Bake Shoppe (417 Center St., Lewiston) will donate $1 for each “Cake in a Cup” sold between Sunday, Nov. 28 and Saturday, Dec. 4
√ Parkway Prime (401 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls) will donate 10% of food sales on Monday, Nov. 29.
√ Anchor Bar (114 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls) will donate 10% of food sales on Tuesday, Nov. 30.
√ Bella Vista Ristorante (7001 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls) will donate 10% of food sales on Wednesday, Dec. 1.
√ Rainforest Cafe (300 3rd St., Niagara Falls) will donate 10% of sales on Thursday, Dec. 2.
√ F-Bites Coffee & Kitchen (616 Niagara St., Niagara Falls) will donate 10% of sales on Friday, Dec. 3.
√ Power City Eatery (444 3rd St., Niagara Falls) will donate 10% of sales on Saturday, Dec. 4.