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By Caterina Grande
Niagara University student
Special to Niagara Frontier Publications
Community Missions of the Niagara Frontier announces its annual participation in Giving Tuesday this year, on Tuesday, Nov. 29. Its goal is to encourage the community to donate and volunteer to give back to their neighbors around the holidays.
“Giving Tuesday is about bringing people back to what the holidays are about,” said Christian Hoffman, a spokesperson for Community Missions for the past 10 years.
This year, the agency is looking specifically for volunteers to cook and serve a hot breakfast starting at 6:30 a.m. This program will provide a warm, sit-down meal for those in need.
“We had one individual who came up to us very thankful a few years ago. He said it was the first hot breakfast he’d had in like 14 years,” Hoffman explained.
That same week, Community Missions will hold fundraisers at different restaurants throughout the area. A portion of the sales will serve as proceeds to Community Mission’s Giving Tuesday program during the holiday season.
“We ask the community of people to get involved as we partner with local restaurants,” Hoffman said, explaining that what he likes about the program is that it is about “helping our Niagara neighbors.”
Community Missions is always looking for donations to support its programs, such as clothing, food and financial support. Volunteers are also needed, and are welcome to assist in the soup kitchen, food pantry, clothes closet, or at any of the special events.
“Right now, we’re having a really hard time keeping our shelves full,” Hoffman said. “Jackets, hats, scarves, those kinds of things this time of year.”
Community Missions has been supplying the community of Niagara Falls with programs such as mental health services, housing services, crisis and community services, and youth services since 1925. It also offers transportation and job assistance to those in need, including for the homeless, the mentally struggling, the formerly incarcerated, and those who need help getting back on their feet. In total, the agency is able to provide shelter to 50 people at any given time, and run 21 programs that are divided into the categories of crisis and community services, mental health housing services, mental health recovery services, and youth services.
“When talking about Community Missions and … free lunches, and the free clothes closet, everyone has a picture of what that looks like and who that is. But when you start scaling back and realizing … with mental health and house fires … it’s a lot closer to home,” Hoffman said. “When you’re giving to a Community Missions, you’re literally helping someone right in your community.”
In order to receive updates about the projects, follow Community Mission on Facebook or Twitter @CMINiagara.
For more information on volunteering, email Hoffman at [email protected], or visit the agency website at www.communitymissions.org/volunteer.
Restaurants Teaming with Community Missions for Giving Tuesday
√ Anchor Bar, 114 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls; 716-285-2521 – Will donate 10% of food sales on Monday, Nov. 28
√ Power City Eatery, 444 3rd St., Niagara Falls; 716-304-1990 – Will donate 10% of sales on Tuesday, Nov. 29
√ Parkway Prime, 401 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls; 716-524-3347 – Will donate 10% of food sales on Wednesday, Nov. 30
√ Spot Coffee, 24 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls; 716-215-6000 – Will donate 10% of food sales on Wednesday, Nov. 30
√ Rainforest Café, 300 Third St., Niagara Falls; 716-278-2626 – Will donate 10% of sales on Thursday, Dec. 1
√ SEVA Tapas Bar & Lounge, 200 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls; 716-804-7444 – Will donate 10% of food sales on Thursday, Dec. 1
√ Bella Vista Ristorante, 7001 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls; 716-299-0344 – Will donate 10% of food sales on Friday, Dec. 2.