Matthew McKenzie, Emma Simoneaux, and Kaylee Woodruff are leading donation drives this holiday season.

Niagara University’s Vincentian mission inspires students throughout the year, but during the holiday season, this passion and dedication to serve the less fortunate becomes even more prevalent.

During the month of November, three separate student-led donation drives have been launched to assist those in need in the Niagara Falls community.

Emma Simoneaux, a senior social work major from Albany, N.Y., is spearheading both a donation drive and a fundraiser to support the Magdalene Project, an organization that provides food, clothing, and toiletries to people on the streets of Niagara Falls, N.Y.

A recent fire caused extensive damage to one of the Magdalene Project’s vehicles and destroyed many of its street outreach supplies, so Emma, who wants to work with the homeless population after graduation, is asking for donations of new/lightly used blankets, nonperishable food, outdoor winter gear, and hygiene products. Collection bins will be available until Nov. 25 in the offices of Residence Life, IMPACT, and Campus Ministry, and in the library.

To raise funds toward the cost of repairing the vehicle, which is essential in bringing supplies to these individuals, mugs filled with hot cocoa mix will be sold the week of Nov. 18 in the lower level of the Gallagher Center. 

“I volunteered with Joanne (Lorenzo, executive director of the Magdalene Project) last year for the homeless outreach project and fell in love with what the Magdalene Project does for the community of Niagara Falls,” Emma said. “When I heard what happened, it impacted me greatly. My goal is to collect everything I can to help her and the members of the community. Winter has come, and the weather is getting colder. The homeless individuals on the street, in shelters and motels need the services of the Magdalene Project.” 

For more information, please contact Emma at

Peace Action New York State--Niagara University is accepting donations of hygiene products that will be given to local organizations that serve women in Niagara Falls. Working with I Support the Girls, an international organization that collects and distributes essential items for girls and women experiencing homelessness, impoverishment, or distress, the NU Peace Action group is hoping to spread awareness and educate students about the importance of items such as tampons, pads, new underwear and bras in helping these women and girls retain their dignity.

Drop-off bins will be available through Nov. 25 in the offices of Multicultural Affairs, IMPACT, and Campus Ministry, and in the O’Shea Hall food pantry.

“We did this because hygiene products, such as tampons, are really needed by people all around the world and especially in low income areas,” said Peace Action president Matthew McKenzie, a junior political science and international relations major from Niagara Falls. “We hope to have students, faculty, and alumni donate to what will hopefully be an annual donation drive. Our group and events such as this is all about community and family, and there is no better place for that than Niagara.”

For more information, contact Matthew at

Kaylee Woodruff, a sophomore in the Academic Exploration Program from Niagara Falls, is collecting recyclable bottles through Nov. 25 to raise funds which will be given to a local organization that provides free Thanksgiving meals to residents in need. Donations will be accepted on campus in the IMPACT office and in Campus Ministry, and off campus at the customer service desk at the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, 1900 Military Rd., Niagara Falls.

“I launched this donation drive because I wanted to help my community and give back this holiday season,” Kaylee said. “I didn’t feel like I was doing enough in my community. The goal of this drive is to help the community, but (also) possibly start something on campus.”

Kaylee added that she hopes to hold another bottle collection drive to support the annual Niagara Falls Firefighters Christmas Toy Fund. “When I was little, I danced in that telethon, and I would love to continue to give back any way that I can.” 

For more information or to help collect bottles, please contact Kaylee at 545-9891 or


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