Sleep Cheap raises $84,000 for local charities

The 18th annual Sleep Cheap Charities Reap event raised $84,533.60.

The popular event allows Niagara residents to book a hotel room in Niagara Falls at a discounted price, with the money raised going to local charities. It has raised $2,293,396 for over a hundred local charities since its inception in 2004.

A report on the 2021 event, which took place Nov. 14-19, is included in Niagara Falls City Council’s agenda on Tuesday.

The event is coordinated by the city in conjunction with members of the Sleep Cheap Committee, which includes representatives from the tourism industry and the city council.

Eligible charities are invited to submit applications for funding. Applications are reviewed and recipients are selected by the organizing committee.

The 2021 event was enhanced by a donation of $3,277.11 from the John McCall MacBain Foundation.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the WonderFalls Attraction Pass was not available for purchase in 2020 or 2021.

The pass, which raised $14,600 in 2019, typically allows Niagara residents to visit 10 tourist attractions during Sleep Cheap week at discounted rates. Funds raised through the WonderFalls Pass are transferred to a designated special purpose reserve for the improvement of parks and playgrounds in Niagara Falls.

The $84,533.60 raised during the 2021 edition of Sleep Cheap was distributed to 16 charities.

Sleep Cheap committee chairman Victor Pietrangelo said committee members were “pleasantly surprised” by the amount of money raised, given that the event was still impacted by the pandemic, but not as badly as the 2020 event, which raised $55,420.50.

He said the success of the 2021 event showed people were looking to “return to some sense of normalcy”.

“That’s certainly what the numbers indicated as hotels were very busy during Sleep Cheap.”

Pietrangelo said the committee wanted to “spread the money” raised at the most recent event to more charities.

“We realized that nonprofits had just gone through a few years of not being able to fundraise effectively, so we wanted to try to help as much as we could,” he said.

Pietrangelo said he hopes the 2022 event “will go back to 2019 where we will see full participation from everyone – from all hoteliers and anyone who wants to stay at Sleep Cheap.”

The 2019 event raised over $133,000.

He said he can’t wait to see the return of the WonderFalls Pass, adding that the money raised supports accessible equipment in the parks.

“It’s something that we really hope to get back on track, because it certainly makes a difference.”

Distribution of Sleep Cheap 2021 funds

$16,250: community team

$13,000: Niagara Falls Community Soup Kitchen

$8,116: Niagara Community Foundation

$6,175: Falls View Pipe Brigade

$6,175: nature experience in the Heartland forest

$6,000: Kristen French Child Advocacy Center Niagara

$6,000: Pathstone Foundation

$6,000: South Niagara Inc. Women’s Place

$3,250: Niagara Furniture Bank

$3,250: Wellspring Cancer Center Support Foundation

$2,730: Hôtel-Dieu Shaver Foundation

$2,567.72: Niagara Community Support Services

$1,745: Art Gallery of Niagara Falls – Children’s Museum of Niagara

$1,625: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Niagara Falls

$1,300: housing and support services in Bethlehem

$349.88: Niagara Humane Society

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