Dr. June Mergl and Eugene Oatley, members of the Rotary Club of Niagara Falls, on Friday delivered backpacks filled with essential items to Pastor Lt. Curtis Metcalf and outreach worker Karen Johnson. The backpacks will be donated to those less fortunate through the Salvation Army’s Niagara Mobile Outreach program. BOB TYMCZYSZYN/MULTI-MEDIA JOURNALIST
The Salvation Army’s mobile outreach truck typically hands out hot meals and supplies to the city’s homeless and those at risk of living on the streets.
Recently, those meals were paired with sleeping bags and backpacks each filled with 30 items including hats, scarves and socks.
The Rotary Club of Niagara Falls purchased, through a donation, and assembled a number of the backpacks from a program called Project Winter Survival.
The kits were donated to the Salvation Army’s Niagara Mobile Outreach program to be distributed to those less fortunate.
“There is such a need out there, especially this winter since it has been so cold,” said Dr. June Mergl, club president.
Lt. Curis Metcalf, pastor at the Salvation Army Niagara Orchard Community Church, said the donation will allow the mobile outreach program to continue to serve those less fortunate.
“The community has been amazing this year in its support, especially in this cold weather,” he said.
The Niagara Mobile Outreach program operates year-round from Fort Erie to Grimsby. The truck makes stops in Niagara Falls on Wednesdays and Fridays.
The Rotary Club previously donated several kits to Niagara Falls Community Outreach, also known as the Niagara Falls soup kitchen, and also to a local church.
“Our motto is service above self, and we are always raising money to help those less fortunate in our communities and partnering with projects around the world,” Mergl said.
“This project meets a goal we have to assist the homeless in Niagara Falls, and partner with the social agencies and churches in the area that have direct connections with the most vulnerable members of our community.”
Project Winter Survival is co-ordinated through Engage to Change, a non-profit agency based in Toronto.
Since 1999, Engage for Change has assembled and distributed more than 24,000 kits and supplies to people living on the streets.
Meanwhile, the Rotary Club of Niagara Falls is always on the look out for new members. The club meets Tuesdays at noon at the Shriner’s Hall at 5621 North St.