Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, February 23, in communities across the country, Canadians came together, raised funds and walked on the coldest night of the year. In St. Catharines, hundreds of neighbours, friends and community members filled our downtown streets with hope, warmth and compassion, and did so while raising $107,000 for Start Me Up Niagara.
In 1999, Susan and Tony Venditti started Start Me Up Niagara to help those most vulnerable in our community. It is open 365 days a year and coordinates our “Out of the Cold” winter shelter program with help from several churches across the city of St. Catharines.
Start Me Up Niagara offers a variety of opportunities that improve health, increase the level of community integration and support housing and employment opportunities, including the Work Action Centre that opened in 2017.
Start Me Up Niagara is an essential organization in St. Catharines, and one that ensures all residents in our community have a place to go, a place to be somebody and a place to do something.