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NYSARC Gives Back

Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara, the Niagara County Chapter of NYSARC, Inc., celebrated Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month this March with a month-long special project. Under the banner of “NYSARC Gives Back” adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and employees joined together, with the leadership of our two Self-Advocacy groups from Niagara Falls and Lockport, to collect non-perishable food donations for the Niagara Community Action Program (NCAP) of the Food Bank of Western New York.

“As Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara serves individuals with developmental disabilities and their families from across Niagara County, it was a priority to partner with an organization like the Niagara Community Action Program that served people county-wide as well. We are proud to join with our sister agencies statewide in support of local food banks,” remarked Kellie Spychalski, MSHA, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara.

Christopher Rifenbark, Jessica Dunham and Cathy Tubinis, members of Voices of Niagara, the Niagara Falls Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara Self Advocacy Group, and Peter Drew, Associate Executive Director of Day, Employment & Supportive Services at Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara delivered more than 178 pounds of donations to representatives from the Niagara Community Action Program at their Niagara Falls Distribution Center on Thursday, March 26, 2015.

Upon receiving the donation, Suzanne Shears, Executive Director of the Niagara Community Action Program, Inc., presented a certificate of appreciation and stated, “This is the fifth year of receiving such a large food donation from the employees and participants of Opportunities Unlimited.  On behalf of the board of directors for Niagara Community Action Program, Inc., we are truly grateful to them for their support and dedication. Thank you so much.”

Kimberley O’Grady, Family Development and Nutrition Supervisor, Niagara Community Action Program Inc. added, “On behalf of the Niagara County Food Providers I would like to thank Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara in collecting and donating non-perishable food products to assist Niagara County residents who are in need. Approximately 36,000 households rely on the food pantries each year. Partnerships like this make our community stronger.”

Also on hand to accept the donations were representatives of the 40 providers who receive food each year through Niagara County Food Distribution Center: Yolanda Porter, Outreach Worker for Word of Life Food Pantry in Niagara Falls, Maritza Campos, Outreach Worker for Niagara Community Action Program, Inc. in Niagara Falls and MaryAnn Cox, Outreach Worker for Niagara Community Action Program, Inc. in Lockport.