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Wings Over Batavia organizers offer fundraising opportunities

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Wings Over Batavia Air Show is coming to town on September 2 and 3 and bringing national acts and world champion aerobatic performers in a spectacular night-time show featuring a high energy-choreographed fireworks & flight display. It will be a show not to miss.

If your organization, group, or team is looking for a great fundraising opportunity, then this is it. The Wings Over Batavia Air Show is looking for groups to work the food courts and raise funds through revenue sharing. If you are interested in learning more, request information here -

The Air Show is also looking for groups to work in the parking lots, and these groups will also be eligible to raise funds through revenue sharing. Sign up for parking online at If you would like to see more about the airshow, check out their website at or like them on facebook at

Le Roy's Karen Samis raised nearly $1K in American Lung Association's debut Virtual Fight for Air

By Billie Owens

Submitted photo and press release:

Le Roy resident Karen Samis (far left in photo) participated in the American Lung Association's first-ever Virtual Fight For Air Climb Buffalo.

Samis completed more than 48 hours of physical activity all over New York State and raised nearly $1,000 for the Lung Association's mission.

That mission is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through advocacy, education and research of lung diseases, including COVID-19.   

The 10th annual in-person event was originally scheduled for late March. It regularly attracts hundreds of people to walk or run up the 24 flights of stairs, or 470 steps, to the top of Main Place Tower in Buffalo.

This year, COVID-19 required the event to be moved online, and participants from all over Western New York joined in to stay active by choosing a challenge such as climbing, running, walking or cycling from home or near their own neighborhoods.

In total, the event raised more than $165,000.

To support Samis and contribute to her effort click here.

Pictured in Lake Placid, from left are: Karen Samis, Diane Yarosis (her cousin and lung cancer survivor), Pete Yarosis (her nephew), and Steve Samis (her husband).

Northgate pastor: clean-shaven for a cause -- $2,215 raised to fight food scarcity

By Billie Owens

Northgate Pastor John Keller gets some grooming.

Submitted photos and press release:

Beginning in October of 2019, Northgate Pastor John Keller began a process many of our readers can relate to. He grew a beard. After an eight-month progression and the absence of winter temperatures, Pastor Keller made the decision to potentially lose a part of him which he had grown fondly of.

As a member of the Advisory Board for the Salvation Army in Batavia, Keller put a wager on the community and Northgate congregants through Facebook to raise money in exchange for a fresh shave.  

The original post asked for the community to donate $500 to The Salvation Army of Batavia. Unbeknownst to him, the community rallied around his fundraising efforts and raised that amount in only an hour and a half.

Quick on his feet, Keller amended the goal to $1,000, saying that if he reached the new amount, he would let his three daughters shave his beard. Once again, the congregants and community spoke. Three hours after the original post, the total had surpassed $1,000.

Over the course of the five-day fundraiser, 53 people donated for a combined total of $2,215.  

This financial fundraiser will remain local and will help to fight food scarcity in Genesee County.

Keller said “Truthfully, a beard that long with a mask and the higher temperatures just wasn’t comfortable. So, I was probably going to shave it anyway, but I thought we could have a little fun with it and raise some money for a great cause. I had no idea that people would respond in such an awesome way! Our local Salvation Army is so well run and does such an incredible job loving and serving our community. I’m so glad to have been able to have a part in helping them do that great work!” 

Northgate church continues to partner with The Salvation Army of Batavia, as they have for years. During the COVID-19 closures, they have hosted local food collections each Monday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at their North Campus (8160 Bank Street Road).

They have also teamed up with The Salvation Army and Foodlink to conduct drive-thru food distributions every other Wednesday. This past Wednesday, they were able to distribute food to 413 vehicles that passed through their parking lot.

If you are interested in assisting the local community, food deliveries can be delivered during the hours listed above, or directly to The Salvation Army during their hours of operation.

Below, Pastor Keller before and after.

Bottom, photo from this Wednesday's food giveaway at Northgate church featuring featuring fresh meat, produce and dairy products.

YMCA's Strong Communities Campaign kicks off Feb. 1, goal is to raise $49,000 in two months

By Billie Owens

From YMCA of Genesee County:

Part of the Y’s charitable mission is the philosophy that no one with an inability to pay for membership or programs is ever turned away. To that end, funds are raised annually through the Strong Communities Campaign to help subsidize scholarships for youths, teens, adults, families and seniors in Genesee County.

This year’s campaign runs from Feb. 1st  – March 31st and the goal is to raise $49,000.

The YMCA wants to positively impact at least 800 people’s lives locally.

Reaching the 2020 goal will insure that children and families, regardless of their socioeconomic status, will have the chance to benefit from the important lessons of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility through YMCA programs and services.

Your help is needed! Please consider a gift to support the YMCA in achieving this goal and making our community stronger for all.

To make a gift, contact Jeff Townsend, executive director at (585) 344-1664 or online at www.glowymca.orgunder the “giving” tab.

Hawley: Downstate attacks charities with proposed firearm raffle ban

By Billie Owens

From Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

In response to Assembly Bill 1413, which outlaws firearms as prizes in games of chance, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) has vocally opposed this legislation as another example of Downstate government overreach.

Firearm raffles are an important source of funding for community activities and many local organizations, specifically fire departments, use the funds generated by these raffles to support the department and purchase equipment used to protect the community.

The legislation is authored by Jo Anne Simon, a Democrat from Brooklyn and sponsored by over a dozen New York City Democrats.  

“The widening disconnect between Downstate politicians and Upstate matters is alarming,” Hawley said. “It is the not the place of legislators in New York City to determine laws that significantly affect upstate affairs.

"Law-abiding gun owners have been subjected to increased regulations and harmful laws that blatantly violate their Second Amendment rights, and banning firearms as raffle prizes is yet another example.”

The standards of gun ownership do not change whether it’s purchased from a licensed dealer or won in a raffle. In order to claim possession, one must still pass the background checks and have the necessary permits. 

“Gun ownership is a proud and storied tradition in Western New York,” Hawley said. “It is not the business of city legislators to infringe on your constitutional rights and ultimately hurt our local charitable organizations.”

United Way launches Campaign 2020: 'Clear vision for a brighter future'

By Billie Owens

Press release:

A breakfast held at the Dibble Family Center in Batavia this morning set the stage for the United Way of Genesee County’s Campaign 2020 Kick-off.

This year’s campaign will be under the direction of co-chairs Susie Ott and Jane Scott. Together they chair the United Way’s Day of Caring Committee, are members of the Allocations Committee and have dedicated themselves to the United Way mission for many years.

“Campaign 2020: clear vision for a brighter future” is our tagline this year, says Executive Director Tammy Hathaway. “We want to know the personality of our donor and offer them nothing less from our stewardship of their funds than what they give to their customers and the community.”

The United Way of Genesee County (UWGC) is focused on funding the Community Impact areas of health, education and economic mobility. Within these categories, 21 nonprofits are provided funding for 27 different programs in our county.

Campaign funding grants an insurance toward keeping these essential programs in existence. A listing of agencies and services funded can be found on the UWGC website.

Co-chairs, Ott & Scott (or as UWGC calls them: "Ott & Scott’s Big Adventure") announced this year’s United Way of Genesee County’s campaign goal for 2020 is $350,000.

As the morning began, Paul Ohlson of Care-A-Van Ministries blessed the venture saying "it takes a village." The United Way of Genesee County looks forward to partnering with current and new donors to "be this village" and to another year of being committed to mobilizing resources for community impact.

For questions, or inquiries of how to get involved, please contact the UWGC office at 585-343-8141.

Inset photo of United Way of Genesee County Executive Director Tammy Hathaway, courtesy of Susie Ott.

Arc's annual Chili & Chowder Fest & Bake Sale & Basket Raffle is Nov. 17

By Billie Owens

Arc of Genesee Orleans annual Chili & Chowder Fest & Bake Sale will be held from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Arc Community Center.

It is located at 38 Woodrow Road in Batavia.

There will also be grilled cheese sandwiches for purchase in addtion to the hearty, homemade chili and chowder. Take-outs available.

Early tickets will be available only from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16.

Tickets, both presale Friday and day-of-the-event Saturday, are available only at the Arc Community Center on Woodrow Road.

All proceeds benefit people with disabilities.

There will be 100 theme baskets raffled off. Need not be present to win. Drawings will be at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 17.

Want to donate a basket or get more information? Call Arc of Genesee Orleans at 343-4203.

Strike Out Cancer event gives back to Genesee Cancer Assistance

By Steve Ognibene


The Batavia High School Varsity Softball Team is pictured above donating a check of $1,000 to board members of Genesee Cancer Assistance.

The team raised $3,000 during a Bat-a-thon fundraising event called "Strike Out Cancer" on March 24th at Batavia High School. It was a priority this season as a way to contribute to a local charity.

"This was something our team and program wanted to do to make a difference in our community," said first-year Coach Jim Fazio. "Our girls went above and beyond in all of our fundraising efforts and this seemed like a perfect place to show our support."

Head Coach Jim Fazio presents the check to Board Member Nickie Fazio, who coordinates the Simply Beautiful program, and office manager Teresa Potrzebowski​ of Genesee Cancer Assistance.

GCC's Duck Derby pools more than $400 for United Way, campaign to raise funds continues

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Last Thursday, the Genesee Community College Pool was filled with 400 bright yellow rubber ducks each representing a donation to the eighth Annual United Way Campaign.

The Duck Derby is the single biggest initiative GCC developed to solicit donations for the campaign from faculty, staff and students. However events are scheduled throughout the campaign period.

This year the Duck Derby raised more than $400 for the United Way and the following participants won prizes: Katina Maher, John McGowan, Dave Hoover, Marguerite Badami, Kelly Sutcliff and Maureen Goodsell.

To champion the campaign efforts each year GCC establishes a United Way Committee. The 2018 committee includes:

  • Courtney Andros, assistant director of HR Compliance
  • Bethany Aradine, assistant director of HR
  • Justine Briggs, TS Business training specialist
  • John McGowan, director of Business and Employee Training Skills (BEST Center)
  • Katherine Trombley, director of the Adult Education Opportunity Center (AEOC)
  • Gina Weaver, associate vice president of HR
  • Dolores Wilkin, HR Department secretary
  • GCC's student athletes

The committee has set a donation goal of $16,000 for 2018, a 6-percent increase over 2017. Donations are accepted through payroll deductions, one-time gifts and of course, the purchase of ducks for the Duck Derby.

"The United Way does so much for so many organizations and individuals in our community," Campaign Coordinator Gina Weaver said. "Our campaign is our way of ensuring that good work can continue."

GCC faculty, students and staff are encouraged to make their contributions online at

'Change for Change,' final update

By Daniel Crofts

The Genesee County high schools' "Change for Change" fundraiser has come to an end. The money raised will benefit United Way charities in Genesee County.

Nancy Harding of the Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union reported the following totals after final deposits were made on Friday:

Batavia High: $3,384.27

New York State School for the Blind: $701.73

Oakfield: $459.06

Pavilion: $32.95

'Change for Change' update, second week

By Daniel Crofts

Nick Burk and Chris Weicher (right) of Batavia High School bask in the light of their glory -- actually, their bald heads just amplify the sunlight to a ridiculous degree -- as they stand on the school's roof to raise money for the United Way. They spent hours on the rooftop on Friday.

Last week was the second week of Change for Change, the Genesee County high schools' fundraising project for the United Way.

Nancy Harding of the Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union reported a tally of $1,327.92 for Batavia High and a tally of $148.45 for Oakfield. No activity from the other schools has been reported.

Stay posted for another update in the next week.

'Change for Change' update, first week

By Daniel Crofts

Last week was the first week of "Change for Change," the Genesee County high schools' fundraising project for the United Way. Batavia High and Pavilion Central were the only two schools to deposit money with the Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union on Friday. The project's representative at TVFCU said that the other schools were busy with testing.

Right now, Batavia is in the lead with $224.84. Pavilion's earnings total $97.71.

Stay posted for further updates in the coming weeks.

Annual Hospice Guild Spring Bouquet Sale

By Wendy Leffler

Large (Hope) Bouquets are $15.00 (about 21 stems); Small (Traditional) Bouquets are $7.00 (about 7 stems).  Chances are you know someone or know of someone who has been helped by Hospice.  Please brighten someone's day with flowers and help a great cause at the same time!

On-Site Sales Locations:

Batavia Downs, Park Rd., Batavia--3:00 - 6:00

CEF Credit Union, E. Main St., Attica--1:30 - 3:30

Event Date and Time

Annual Hospice Guild Spring Bouquet Sale

By Wendy Leffler

Large (Hope) Bouquets are $15.00 (include about 21 stems); Small (Traditional) Bouquets are $7.00 ( include about 7 stems).

Brighten someone's day and help a great cause!  We are the only Medicare certified provider of Hospice services in Genesee & Wyoming counties.

On-Site Sales Location: Pioneer Credit Recovery, 20 Parker Lane (off Main Street), Perry--10:30 - 12:30.

Event Date and Time

Annual Hospice Guild Spring Bouquet Sale

By Wendy Leffler

Annual HomeCare & Hospice Guild Spring Bouquet Sale: Large (Hope) Bouquets are $15.00 for 21 stems; Small (Traditional) Bouquets are $7.00 for 7 stems.  On-site sales location:

Phat Katz Restaurant, Main St., Elba

All Day or until sold out

Event Date and Time

Genesee County youth aim to rake in change for makin' change

By Daniel Crofts

Everybody likes a little friendly competition, right? And if it's for a good cause, all the better!

These guys definitely feel that way:

Half of them are pictured above...

...and here's the other half!

High schoolers from all over Genesee County are getting involved in "Change for Change" (C4C), a fundraising project for United Way of Genesee County. Student government reps from Batavia High School, the NYS State School for the Blind, Oakfield-Alabama High School and Pavillion Central School gathered in the BHS auditorium Yesterday to kick-start the project. 

From Mar. 8-26, the schools will compete to raise as much money as they can and deposit their funds in an account with the Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union (set up for United Way, with a sub-account for each school) every Friday.

BHS government members welcomed their fellow students and gave them the lay of the land (contest rules and stakes, etc.) at Thursday's meeting...

...starting with an icebreaker from treasurer Amanda Jones, who asked representatives of each school to come up with and share a few "fun facts" about their school.

Some interesting ones to consider:

1. O-A HS recently organized a lunch boycott

2. Pavilion is one of the few schools in the state with a pillow tournament

3. The Blind School has a heated pool with a moving floor

4. BHS has the best cookies in the state, inarguably, of course


Handling introductions was co-mayor C.J. Shultz, who introduced his fellow officers and their faculty advisors/helpers as follows:

"There's [mayor] Matt Hoye, who has nothing better to do than keep his beautiful red hair perfectly groomed.

"And next to him is Sahil Jain, our representative to the board of education -- which basically means he makes sure the students' voices are heard at board
meetings. But then he doesn’t get to vote for anything, so it doesn't really matter.

"Then we have the wonderful Amanda Jones, who is our treasurer. We have to trust her with our money. She ran unopposed, so we really didn't have a choice.

"Erica Bucci is our secretary, who takes great notes...when she's

"In the audience is [BHS special education teacher] Mrs. Gammack, who is a great student advisor. Nobody else really wanted the job, so...

"And finally, there's Mrs. Johnson, who is the best statistics teacher at Batavia High…actually, she's the only statistics teacher at Batavia High."

Shultz and Hoye were the brains behind the whole operation, according to Gammack and the other student officers.

"They came to me with this idea in August," Gammack said. "And I thought it sounded great."

The project was inspired by 98 PXY's Penny Challenge, in which BHS students competed (and won!) two years ago. They raised $8,000 in pennies by doing "some crazy things" [crazy in a good way, of course], says UW Campaign Associate Christine Fix.

"We saw the school come together in a way that surpassed any kind of sporting event, school activity, etc.," Hoye said. "We felt that another fundraiser could produce a similar effect, continuing to blur the lines between grade levels and uniting the school as a single body."

"I remember how close our school became during the Penny Challenge," Jones said, "and I really wanted to start that kind of excitement within our school again, with a new group of kids."

During the Penny Challenge, the students saw how powerful a tool competition can be when raising money. This time, they decided to expand the range to include their peers throughout the county.

"I think this is a great way to encourage healthy competition and interaction between our schools," Jones said, "especially since Batavia doesn't participate with the smaller schools in sports very much, since we're in the Monroe County League."

There is another major difference from the 98 PXY fundraiser: this time, they are keeping it local.

"Even though we raised a lot of money [for the Penny Challenge], the proceeds went mostly to agencies in Rochester," Hoye said. "Although we are very proud of our efforts and the money we raised, we would like to see our money used within our own communities in Genesee County."

Representatives from area organizations that will benefit from this fundraiser came to the meeting to express their gratitude and to show the kids how much of a difference they will be making.

UW Regional Manager Lori Stupp pointed out that UW will "fall short of [its] goal this year" in terms of fundraising.

"What you guys are doing is going to help us recuperate some of that loss," she added.

Patricia Kurtz of the Salvation Army -- which receives $57,000 a year from UW -- took a moment to thank the high schoolers for "stepping up to represent [their] schools and to raise money for our community."

"Know how important what you're doing is to us," she added. "I hope this goes to show that when we are united, we are strong, and we can change the world together."

YMCA Regional Director Erik Fix called the C4C fundraising project "a phenomenal thing that speaks volumes about the students in our communities."

"It feels like we're a part of history at BHS," education board rep Jain said. "I feel like the fundraiser will only get bigger and better in the years to come, and to be among the people who started it is an incredible thing."

Students of each school were encouraged to be creative with their fundraisers, which could be anything ranging from competitions between the grades to placing cans at community businesses.

Shultz concluded the meeting on a mobilizing note. First, he quoted Gandhi's famous statement: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Second, he said: "Now get out there and raise as much money as you can. Booyah!"

Stay tuned to The Batavian for updates on C4C's progress, which will be submitted on a weekly basis once the project officially gets started.


Additional Note:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (pictured) and Legislator Jay Grasso came to talk to the students about the importance of civic responsibility and why Genesee County is a great place to live in, thereby encouraging them in their efforts.

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