Pfeiffer: Firefighters Toy Fund holding 5K run for charity

Rick Pfeiffer

With temperatures near the 90s, and humidity that's even higher, thinking about Christmas 2018 is not at the top of my list of my things to do.

I'm still trying to figure out how to squeeze in one more summer vacation trip.

For Falls firefighters, the planning and preparation for their annual Toy Fund never takes a vacation. 

So it was no surprise when I heard from Toy Fund Chair John Castellani this week to alert me to the fund's upcoming 5K run and a host of other activities that help fund brighter holidays for kids and seniors.

One of the great things about dealing with John every year is his relentless enthusiasm for the work of the Toy Fund. It has become a tie that has bound generations of city firefighters together and one of the brightest lights in the community. 

Castellani wrote to me that the upcoming run is an "event (that) constitutes one of the good things happening in Niagara Falls and, we hope, will be a successful fundraiser for our charity."

The 5K run will be held on Oct. 13.  It will start at 11 a.m., with runners leaving the LaSalle Waterfront Park, then the newly certified course will proceed along the Niagara River bike trail.

The race is hosted by the Sheraton Four Points on Buffalo avenue, just a short walk from the Waterfront Park.

Participants can register the morning of the charity run, or can register online at

The run will kickoff the 90th season of fundraising for the Toy Fund and help bring the joys of the holidays to impoverished children and families living in our communities, as well as to local senior citizens residing in area nursing homes.

"We once again are reaching out to those in the community who, like us, see the poverty and deprivation under which too many of the children in our communities live, the institutionalization and loneliness of so many of our honored seniors, and are asking the support of the charitably minded among us to help these impoverished or isolated members of our community by donating to our charity," Castellani wrote to me.

And he's right.

We should all be ready to dig down and give a little to help those who struggle in the community.

"The donations we receive tell us our donors and sponsors care about these folks, and by coordinating the efforts of our unpaid volunteers, we utilize 95 percent or more of those donations to host a festive holiday-themed party for area nursing home residents and to provide new Christmas toys and new cold-weather clothing for impoverished children each holiday season," Castellani reminded me.

His point is well taken.

If you're a runner, hope we'll see you at the Waterfront Park on Oct. 13. 

Rick Pfeiffer covers police and court matters for the Niagara Gazette. You can reach him by telephone at 282-2311, ext. 2252. 

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