Town of Fort Erie collected 16,609 donations in exchange for eclipse glasses

All the attention Fort Erie got in the lead up to the total eclipse paid off.

Recognizing an opportunity when they saw one, Town of Fort Erie staff collected food and personal items to help those facing hardships in exchange for ISO-certified solar eclipse glasses.

Collections were received at town hall and the three Fort Erie Public Library branches, where residents generously contributed to the cause.

Credit: Town of Fort Erie

High school students from the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee (MYAC) and Greater Fort Erie Secondary School (GFESS) volunteered their time in exchange for community service hours to count and sort the thousands of items in multiple phases over a two-month period beginning in February.

Initially, the goal of the eight-week campaign was to collect 2,500 donations but that was exceeded within the first week.

In total, Fort Erie collected 16,609 donations.

The donations will help members of the local community experiencing food insecurity and lacking access to essential toiletries.

“We are deeply grateful for our community’s overwhelming support,” said Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop.

“By uniting to support initiatives like this, we demonstrate our commitment to safety, education, and community well-being, as well as our collective curiosity and kindness. Thank you, Fort Erie.”

The substantial donations received have been distributed among several Fort Erie partner organizations such as Salvation Army, Community Outreach Program Erie (COPE), St. Vincent de Paul, Crystal Ridge Dream Centre, Strong Fort Erie Neighbourhoods, and the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre.

The town also thanked all the donors, volunteers, and supporters who have contributed to this remarkable community effort.

“The commitment from everyone involved has been instrumental in the success of this initiative,” said Chief Administrative Officer Chris McQueen.

“Fort Erie residents experienced the solar eclipse safely and that those facing hardships will receive the vital support they require.”

For those still in possession of eclipse glasses, the town is collecting and donating them to Astronomers Without Borders (AWB).

AWB sends the glasses to under-served communities and schools internationally for use in future solar eclipses. 

Glasses can be dropped off at town hall or collection bins at any of Fort Erie’s three library branches.

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