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By Alice Gerard
The Rotary Club of Grand Island hopes to collect a record amount of donations from the community during its 23rd annual Undie Sunday drive, which is beginning Jan. 22 and ending Jan. 29, said club President Sherry Miller.
“We have added (a request for) T-shirts this year because it’s a particularly cold winter,” she said. “Community Missions and Journeys End said that they could both use T-shirts, along with men’s underwear and women’s garments. We look for new, in-package T-shirts; men’s underwear; women’s undergarments in sizes large and extra-large. These then go to provide comfort and dignity to those at the Community Mission and to the refugee services at Journey’s End.”
Miller explained that, in addition to the T-shirts and undergarments, the Rotary Club is also looking for donations of heavy socks, which would keep the feet of homeless people warm.
She said that Community Missions of Niagara Frontier Inc., at 1570 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls, provides support to homeless people, especially when they have been out in cold and damp weather.
“Niagara Falls Community Mission gives homeless people an opportunity to come in, get a shower, change into fresh clothing with extra layers so, when they go back out, they have a little more protection than when they arrived,” she said.
Miller noted the Rotary Club of Grand Island has had a long relationship with the Community Missions.
“Community Missions in Niagara Falls has recognized us as supporting them over these last 23 years,” she said. “It continues that relationship, and it’s reciprocal. They’ve helped us out in different ways also. They used to do the duckies at Canalfest, and they got out of that in the past years, so we got some of their ducks. We look forward to using them at some of our events coming up in the summer for fundraising.”
Miller said that Journey’s End Refugee Services in Buffalo was chosen as a recipient for Undie Sunday donations, along with the Community Missions, “because of our engagement with Journey’s End last year, with the family coming from Afghanistan. We wanted to continue to support them.”
“The Grand Island community has supported us tremendously over the years,” Miller added. “Last year, I stuffed a car full of garments to take over to Community Missions, and we had an equal amount that went to St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy last year (in a separate car).
“I hope we have a bonus drive this year, so it takes three cars to drive the donations to their locations. That would be wonderful. We usually take the two days after the drive. We go to the Welcome Center. We sort through everything we get, so we are sending appropriate items to the different missions. We divide it up between them in terms of what they need.”
People wishing to support the Undie Sunday campaign can place their donations of underwear, warm socks and T-shirts in red hampers, which have been placed in the following locations: Bible Fellowship Center, 1136 Baseline Road; Bible Presbyterian Church, 1650 Love Road; Island United Presbyterian, 1822 Huth Road; New Life in Christ Ministries, 2060 Grand Island Blvd.; St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, 2587 Baseline Road; St. Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church, 2100 Baseline Road; St. Timothy Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1453 Staley Road; and Trinity Methodist Church, 2100 Whitehaven Road.
In addition, donations may also be placed in the hampers at Eggsquisite Eats, 1752 Grand Island Blvd.; Grand Island Library, 1715 Bedell Road; Heron Pointe, 1993 Grand Island Blvd.; Niagara Frontier Publications, 1859 Whitehaven Road; Town Hall lobby, 2255 Baseline Road; KeyBank, 2189 Grand Island Blvd.; M&T Bank, 2381 Grand Island Blvd.; Northwest Bank, 2300 Grand Island Blvd.; and Grand Island Central School District schools.
“Rotary’s areas of focus are peace and conflict prevention, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, economic and community development, and they added environment to the list,” Miller said. “We put this under maternal and child health, but it’s taking care of the family and making sure that they are cared for in the wintertime, which, in Buffalo, can be brutal. Those are the areas of service, and so we feel that providing this comfort and care of clean, new garments falls under that category.
“If people reading this would like to do service oriented to the Grand Island community, we are always looking for new members. They can come to a meeting and check us out. See our website www.rotaryclubgi.org; or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/rotaryclubgi.”