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‘The universe placed us together’: Strangers unite to help Jefferson Ave. community

Posted at 10:01 AM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-23 10:01:48-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It all came together in an hour. Some call it the universe coming together, others God’s plan, but whatever it’s called — Darryl Scott Jr. and Michael O’Brien agree it was meant to be.

“He needed us, and we needed him,” Scott with Buffalo SNUG said. He continued, “we weren’t looking for each other and we happened to meet, the universe placed us together.”

On Sunday morning, Scott and O’Brien were alongside the SNUG team serving the community. Eggs were sizzling on the griddle of the Community Incident Response foundation food truck and Paula’s doughnuts sat next to cups of coffee on a folding table under the truck’s canopy.

“I couldn’t have done this without meeting them,” O’Brien said. He is the man behind the wheel. The police officer is from Rochester but lives now in Georgia.

“I saw the story with Bruce Smith up here and he’s just one of my all-time favorite players and him just showing emotions in the community. I just felt like I had to do something,” O’Brien said.

The Western New York native made the 15-hour drive knowing he’d need help when he arrived. A recent surgery left him in a sling — that’s where Scott with SNUG comes in.

“So I pulled into town and I walked up to a police officer and said, hey, I'm now an officer from outside of state. I need help cooking, who can I talk to and he pointed out to Darryl and SNUG,” O’Brien said.

Scott added, “He needed volunteers, so I had a whole staff that was planning to be out here earlier in the day, so it was just like, we work together.”

SNUG has helped thousands over the years across the city, and the team responded immediately after the shooting at Tops. Scott said what was missing in their outreach along Jefferson Avenue was hot food deliveries - that is until O’Brien drove up.

“We’ve been getting the needs of the people from the community going door to door — asking them, what do they need, what's the needs they want? Because people are, they're not, they don't feel safe to come outside.”

Within an hour of meeting this weekend, the two said they were up and running outside of Tops.

“People don’t care what race you are, what religion you are. What your political affiliation is. It’s just people coming together in mourning right now,” O’Brien said.

Throughout the weekend, O’Brien, Scott and the SNUG team worked together to feed dozens hot meals — whether it was pick-up or home deliveries.

“You can’t spell community without unity,” Scott said.

The food truck left for Georgia Sunday night, but SNUG’s work does not stop here on Jefferson Avenue. The group tells 7 News they are looking for volunteers as well as lawnmowers because, throughout the next week, they're looking to cut neighbor's grass in the immediate neighborhood. They will also be helping some 300 neighbors by providing toiletries and food to them.

For those who would like to help, Scott asks you to reach out to him at 716-598-5205.