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Day of Service ‘Mega Drive’ takes place at Niagara Falls parishes

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Pope Francis has often written and spoken about service to others as a place to encounter Christ. On a beautiful, sunlit, fall day, members of two Niagara Falls parishes collaborated on a special service project, the first ever “Mega Drive,” that was held to benefit several area organizations who help those in need. On Saturday, Oct. 22, over 60 volunteers of all ages from both St. Vincent de Paul and Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph parishes gathered at the St. Vincent de Paul Parish Center where the day began with a simple prayer. Volunteers prayed that the work done in the name of Jesus would be light for the world and that many lives would be touched.

Even Flat Timon came to help Father Mario Racho and a young volunteer with the Day of Service in Niagara Falls. (Photo courtesy of Sister Joanne Suranni, CSSF)

As volunteers arrived, the parish center was bustling with activity as work stations were set up. Several volunteers assembled bags of household products in the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry. Teen volunteers greeted donors as they drove up in their vehicles and helped with the unloading process. As donations flooded in, other volunteers moved to work stations where they received and sorted non-perishable food, men’s, women’s, children’s and baby’s clothing, textiles for recycling, baby items and pet items. Other volunteers helped to load trucks to transport the donations to seven different area agencies. Additionally, a work group of volunteers traveled to Fatima Shrine in Lewiston where they painted and helped with yard work. Through the Mega Drive, connections and partnerships between organizations began to evolve and there is great hope to engage in many future service activities.

The recipients of the donations collected were Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph Food Pantry; St. Vincent de Paul Parish Food Pantry, Tree of Life Little Free Food Pantry, Niagara Gospel Rescue Mission, St. Mary’s Center for Life, Street Dog Coalition and Our Lady of Fatima Shrine.  The Day of Service helped parishioners to get to know one another and collaborate in a meaningful way both during the work that was done and at break time. Both donors and volunteers were astonished at the incredible level of generosity coming forth from the community. Through generous service, all were given a place of encounter, and many hope that the day of service will become an annual event.

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