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"Walk for Niagara" Takes Fundraising One Step at a Time

by Contributed by Michael DePietro
Mon, Apr 24th 2017 10:00 am

Community Missions of Niagara Frontier is looking for participants to put their best foot forward and "Walk for Niagara", rain or shine, on April 29th at Whirlpool State Park. The annual event helps raise awareness and funds for the nonprofit's Crisis and Community Service programs which provide clothing, food, shelter and supportive services to those in need.

"It's a really great cause and it's easy to do," says Sunny Pechulis, a Niagara University freshman and Community Missions volunteer who serves as one of the event's leaders. "We serve so many people from all walks of life everyday, and it really does help out what we do."

"Walk for Niagara" includes a light, two-mile walk along the scenic Niagara gorge. In addition to pre-walk coffee and donuts, a light lunch will be provided afterwards. There will also be a 50/50 raffle along with top prizes and giveaways awarded to the individuals and teams that raise the most funds. Parking is free and dogs on leashes are also welcome to attend. There is also a nearby playground for youngsters.

United Healthcare,  and Independent Health, is sponsoring the event, while Jonathan Sandberg of Harmony Fitness Training will be on site before the walk to lead participants in a series of stretches and will be available to discuss his services.

Participants are asked to collect sponsorship pledges and donations. Individuals should collect a minimum of $20, while teams of five or more people are to collect a minimum of $150. The pledge money is submitted at check in, 10:30 a.m., the day of the walk. Forms and additional information can be found online at www.communitymissions.org. Additionally, participants can visit the site to create a fundraising page and collect donations and pledges electronically. For questions, please contact Francesca Catanese at 285-3403 x.2225

Last year the "Walk for Niagara" had over 100 participants and raised over $7000 for the faith- based agency. This year they would like to see that number improve. The organization has an operations budget of $7.5 million annually.

"We are the largest private provider of basic human needs in Niagara County," says Christian Hoffman, Communications and Development Manager of Community Missions.

The organization's Crisis and Community Services programs offer those in need a range of services including emergency housing and shelter, food services through their soup kitchen and food pantry, as well as clothing and furniture giveaways. Additionally, they provide transitional and supportive services to those living with HIV/AIDS, as well as to parolees hoping to re-enter the community after being released from prison.

Those who are unable to attend the event can still help. Community Missions accepts donations year round either online or at their main agency location in Niagara Falls at 1570 Buffalo Ave.

In addition to monetary donations the organization also accepts food, clothing, household items, toys, and furniture.

According to Hoffman, it's around this time of year that Community Missions could use donations the most. "Everybody thinks of us at Christmas. ...They don't think about it again until May or June when they're doing spring cleaning."




By The Numbers...

In 2016, Community Missions provided:

11,104 nights of shelter

89,366 meals

6,744 individuals with clothing

2,295 care days in Youth Services

46,888 care days in Recovery Services

73,994 care days in Housing Services

182 opportunities for Faith Development


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