I spent the last week of June in Niagara Falls, New York with my church youth group. The kids were great. We worked so hard; everyone was dirty and exhausted, but also full of joy for having accomplished so much. We had a little time off to see the Falls from the U.S. side.
While the Canadian side is thriving, there is a good deal of poverty throughout the area on the U.S. side. We worked with several mission groups either directly with clients or assisting behind the scenes. My favorite place was, naturally, the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center in the former Niagara Falls High School. The place is full of art studios and has two live theaters. The building needs a ton of work, but they have done far more than save a gorgeous Art Deco building from demolition.
Other needs were more urgent. A number of the local missions were busy feeding people. One day, we worked in the garden, picking beans and removing weeds that competed with the food producing plants. We moved earth around a new Habitat For Humanity house, cleaned a house and garage from top to bottom for a woman in too much pain to do it alone, and collected garbage that had been dumped all around a street where small children were playing.