Local restaurants helping bring Christmas to Kingston Youth Shelter

·2 min read

Donations from Kingston's Gino's Pizza restaurant locations are helping the Kingston Youth Center (KYC) to provide a more festive holiday season to those that use their services.

This is the first year Gino's Pizza has collected donations for KYC, and the shelter's Executive Director Anne Brown calls it a huge success.

“Staff were overwhelmed by the volume of donations delivered to the Shelter at 805 Ridley Drive," Brown said.

"These donations will make such an impact on the youth accessing our services over the holiday season. Many do not have positive thoughts about the holidays and this will go a long way in helping to make new memories for them.”

Gino's Pizza locations in and around Kingston as well as Pisano's and Sydenham Slice House all found a few ways to donate funds and supplies to the youth shelter.

The restaurants collected clothing and gift donations up until December 12, are donating one of every two dollars from arcade games in store and Gino's also designed a pizza with Youth Shelter Manager Catherine Oxford, donating $3 from each of those pizzas sold and $1 from every individual slice.

The pizza is called the Rizzilience Pizza, with toppings Oxford said are representative of the resilience demonstrated by the shelter's staff and clients.

"The youth and staff have been phenomenal during all the challenges of the pandemic.” Oxford said.

KYC operates an emergency shelter at 805 Ridley Drive as well as two transitional houses for youth, offering emergency shelter to those in need aged 16-24, as well as transitional beds, life skills programming and family mediation.

Executive Director Anne Brown says staff try to make this time of year as festive as possible for the youth in shelter, and donations help to be able to put together gift bags and to serve a traditional Christmas dinner.

The shelter is run by the United Way, and Brown says it operates near capacity every single night.

A final tally on donations has not been counted, as Gino's Pizza locations continue to collect proceeds from the Rizzilience Pizza until the end of the month.

Donations can also be given to KYC at the Ridley Drive location, with monetary donations and winter clothes being the most in demand at this time.

Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, YGK News

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