NISKAYUNA — A Niskayuna organization determined to feed school children in need has launched its first ever holiday fundraising drive.
Nisky NOW (Nutrition on Weekends) is collecting donations through Dec. 31 in an effort to fund its yearly operations.
The volunteer group provides weekly food deliveries to Niskayuna K-12 students whose families are facing economic distress.
Niskayuna Town Board Member Jessica Brennan, who also serves as Nisky NOW president, said the organization has raised $8,200 through the campaign as of Dec. 20.
“Our goal to hit is $10,000 and we’re looking to raise funds so that we can have the program funded as much as possible throughout the year,” she said.
Donors can post on a community wall on the group’s donation page if they wish to dedicate their gifts to family or friends.
“It’s kind of a way to see everyone in the community pitching in together and see who people are making donations in honor of,” Brennan said. “So we’re also trying to make this a community-building activity.”
Brennan noted that the online fundraising effort was launched as a way to reach the community after the pandemic complicated efforts to hold in-person community events.
“With COVID and different things going on, it got harder and harder to do big fundraisers,” she said. “People would be getting sick or people just had their hands full. It just seemed like there had to be another avenue to utilize.”
Residents can donate to the drive by texting niskynow to 801801 or visiting https://donorbox.org/niskynow.
“We’ve almost reached our goal and we’re trying to do a final push,” Brennan said. “The town is a community partner and of course the school district and the PTOs. So we’re just trying to raise awareness through any avenue where people might want to join in.”
The organization, which was launched in 2014, aims to provide food to any Niskayuna student on weekends who is food insecure.
“We don’t want any barriers for getting nutrition for students,” Brennan said. “Families can just let someone in their school know immediately that they need help and we can open up the pantry and deliver that day or night. We’re just trying to lend a hand to our neighbors, especially now with the prices of food.”
The group has also placed a box for soup collection at Niskayuna Town Hall that will collect donations through the end of the year to complement the fundraising initiative.
“We’re hoping that this can be successful and we can do it again next year,” Brennan said of the online fundraising effort. “I think it’s really fun, even if you want to go donate $1 and see some of the different comments people have made. It’s been really special.”
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