Niagara Gazette — It was great news, but the family quickly learned their financial situation wasn’t prosperous, what with their son undergoing brain surgery and suddenly on chemotherapy. In stepped Sandy Johnson, a volunteer at the fire hall and a family friend of Price for years.
Johnson took it upon herself to begin organizing the benefit held Saturday. Gathering a few friends, it turned into a large group of volunteers looking to assist the family any way they could.
What shocked everyone, though, was the response from the public. Lines formed out the door and snaked around the building. Parking at the fire hall filled up and forced traffic to be diverted to a nearby church, where a shuttle picked up and dropped off attendees. A few days ago, there were about 170 baskets for attendees to attempt to win.
At the evening’s conclusion, though, more than 400 baskets, 100 gift cards and about 30 larger value items were raffled off. It really demonstrated the community’s support, Johnson said.
“We had donations coming in steady for a couple of months,” she said. “But the last two to three weeks was when we started to get a lot of phone calls, a lot of drop-offs and the last two days we just filled the (hall) with baskets. Even after 2 p.m. people were showing up with more baskets. The Buffalo community and the Niagara Falls community comes together really well, the brotherhood of the fire hall has really come up huge. Thank you to everyone who’s helped, who’s donated, who’s supported us. We couldn’t be happier.”
What’s more encouraging was the organizers sold out of attendance 90 minutes before the event was expected to shut down. They scrambled to figure out a way to figure out how to allow more people in the door.