Hilton-Parma ‘Make a Difference Day’ returns for its 13th year

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Village of Hilton and the Town of Parma are hosting their 13th annual “Make a Difference Day.” The goal is to perform service work that benefits the community.

While last year’s event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event is now spread into two days to avoid any logistic challenges.

Tom Venniro, the Hilton-Parma recreation director, believes that aside from expanding into two separate days the layout of the event is very similar to previous iterations.

“It’s kind of a testament to all of us that we’re able to do all of this pretty much to the same extent that we were before COVID-19.”

The event was once part of a nationally recognized holiday until the local tradition was left behind a few years ago. But, “the group has decided to continue on with it, regardless of the fact that it’s not a nationally recognized day,” Venniro said.

The Hilton High School Principal Dr. Jeff Green, said ‘Make a Difference Day’ allows students the chance to volunteer once again.

Volunteering efforts were halted in the back end of 2020, leaving many kids without an outlet to help.

“It’s been hard to have those opportunities for students during COVID, and so for the district to be able to partner with all the different organizations including Hilton-Parma Rec [and] to provide this opportunity for our kids to give back to the community,” Dr. Green said “It’s a great thing for us, and it’s a great thing for the community as well.”

According to Preston Prince, senior Hilton student, volunteering in years past alongside his fellow athletes was something he always looked forward to.

“Our community does a ton for the school, the sports teams, and different clubs in terms of just helping,” Prince said. “So, it’s nice to give back and show appreciation for everything that’s going on and just help other people in need.”

Assemblyman Josh Jensen is part of the day’s organization and spreading the word.

He said it encourages everyone in the community to take part.

“Knowing that it just isn’t the students and the Hilton High School and the elementary schools who are making a difference, but our community can make a difference as well,” Jensen said. “Getting the word out has been so critically important.”

The first event is a blood drive on Friday, October 22 from 1 to 6 p.m. in honor of 2013 Hilton High School graduate Jordan Ott who is battling cancer.

On Saturday, events will kickoff beginning at 9 a.m. Among them are a winter clothing drive, a pet supplies drive and a food drive. For more information on locations, visit the Hilton High School website.

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