‘Hunger doesn’t take a hol­i­day’

The Niagara Falls Review - - Local - RAY SPI­TERI

The tim­ing of the Cold­est Night of the Year fundraiser could not be any more per­fect for Project Share.

It comes at a time of year when the Ni­a­gara Falls food bank typ­i­cally sees less do­na­tions, but not less fam­i­lies in need.

“Cold­est Night has been a re­ally great event for us be­cause we do see so much sup­port for Christ­mas, and then it kind of dwin­dles off be­cause peo­ple aren’t think­ing about that need and it be­ing year-round,” said Pam Sharp, Project Share’s di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity en­gage­ment.

“We do tend to think about it at the hol­i­days, so (the event is) very good tim­ing for us be­cause our do­na­tions do de­cline over the win­ter months, but the need doesn’t.”

She said sta­tis­tics show that “hunger doesn’t take a hol­i­day.”

Just be­fore Christ­mas, the Stan­ley Av­enue fa­cil­ity helped an av­er­age of 130 fam­i­lies per day.

The cur­rent av­er­age is 126 fam­i­lies.

“Un­for­tu­nately, there is still a huge need in Ni­a­gara Falls. Fam­i­lies just aren’t able to make ends meet. We rely on fundrais­ers like Cold­est Night of the Year to help us meet that need.”

Plan­ning is un­der­way for Project Share’s sixth an­nual Cold­est Night of the Year fundraiser.

The event, spon­sored by Merid­ian Credit Union, is sched­uled to take place Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. at

Saint Paul Catholic High School.

Pro­ceeds from the fundraiser help Project Share pro­vide emer­gency sup­port ser­vices in­clud­ing emer­gency food and home­less­ness pre­ven­tion for fam­i­lies liv­ing below the poverty line in Ni­a­gara Falls.

The walk raises about $25,000 each year. Close to 200 peo­ple took to the streets for last year’s walk in Ni­a­gara Falls.

The event of­fers a two-, five- or 10-kilo­me­tre walk.

“It’s an op­por­tu­nity for the com­mu­nity to come to­gether to sup­port our neigh­bours in need,” said Sharp.

Walk­ers can form a team or join Project Share’s team, col­lect pledges or pay a reg­is­tra­tion fee, then come out for a win­ter walk fol­lowed by a warm snack and en­ter­tain­ment.

“We do have many teams that have been in­volved since the be­gin­ning and come back year after year,” said Sharp.

“We have com­pany teams, church groups, and friends and fam­ily teams who par­tic­i­pate in the out­door walk brav­ing the win­ter weather con­di­tions, while think­ing about what some of our clients who do not have stable hous­ing might ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Cold­est Night of the Year is a na­tion­wide ini­tia­tive, with walks hap­pen­ing across the coun­try to help the hun­gry, home­less and hurt­ing. In ad­di­tion to Ni­a­gara Falls, there are Ni­a­gara walks in St. Catharines, Wel­land and Grimsby.

Sharp said each city has its own agency ben­e­fi­ciary, based on what the needs are in that spe­cific com­mu­nity.

To find out more about the event, to sign up as a par­tic­i­pant or vol­un­teer, or to make a do­na­tion, visit cnoy.org or con­tact Project Share at 905-357-5121 ext. 33.

RAY SPI­TERI THE NI­A­GARA FALLS RE­VIEW

Project Share is pre­par­ing for its sixth an­nual Cold­est Night of the Year fundraiser,Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. at Saint Paul Catholic High School in Ni­a­gara Falls. Close to 200 peo­ple par­tic­i­pated in the 2018 event.

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