Niagara University’s Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equity & Mission was among the more than 35 local organizations that participated in the Niagara Falls Housing Authority's second annual Community Day on Aug. 27, 2022. As part of their work with the Niagara Falls Health Equity Task Force, staff members discussed the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines; provided giveaways including hand sanitizer, masks, COVID-19 coloring books with crayons, COVID lawn signs, and tote bags; and made vaccine appointments.
“It’s always great to partner with Niagara Falls Housing Authority to promote good health and wellness in the community,” said Dr. Rolanda L. Ward, director of the Ostapenko Center. “The Ostapenko Center loves being on Highland Avenue, meeting new community members, and doing our part.”
Ostapenko staff also distributed 100 backpacks filled with school supplies such as notebooks, pencils, and folders, and raffled five bikes—two for children and three for adults—and two $25 Top’s gift cards. All items were funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The NFHA Community Day brings resources directly to city neighborhoods in a festival-like atmosphere that encourages residents to get to know their neighbors. This year, in addition to community-based organizations, participants included four local barbers who gave free haircuts to children and adults, a balloon artist, and a face painting and tattoo artist. Children and their families also enjoyed bounce houses, two food trucks, an ice cream truck, and a mobile gaming unit.
“We fed over 700 people, served 556 ice cream cones, and gave away 500 book bags and several dozen adult and child haircuts. I couldn't keep count!” said Angela Smith, NFHA deputy executive director.