BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — ’Tis the season of giving!
An outdoor holiday celebration on Genesee Street is bringing joy to the community.
The charitable event shared food boxes, toys and items of warmth to community members on this Christmas Eve.
"Bring a little excitement and put a smile on somebody's face, if possible," Ike and BGS Restaurant owner, Steven Butler said.
The joyous event is called "Joy on Genesee".
"What's important here is you show the community that they are not left out. You show the community that someone loves them and someone cares,” African American Cultural Center recording secretary, Mary Bonner said.
The operation was a success: getting the community in the holiday spirit with a live DJ and performances, giveaways, chili and hot cocoa by Ike and BGS Restaurant, on Genesee Street, in Buffalo.
"It's important to inspire the neighborhood and the community that we come from. Just trying to build it up and lift it up and bring some excitement, some encouragement to the neighborhood during this difficult time of the pandemic woes, and especially when we see people struggling during the holiday season,” Butler explained.
Butler's father, the founder of Ike and BGS named Ike Gray, recently, passed away.
He said this event is a great way to honor his father's giving spirit by serving the community and rebuilding it amid a tough round two in the era of the pandemic.
"He's always been the person who gives back to this community. He did a lot, gave away, cooked meals, doing whether it's Thanksgiving or Christmas time. He was giving up cooked meals and whatever else he could offer to the community,” Butler explained. “He never made it like a formal event. He just did it year after year."
Fillmore District council member Mitch Nowakowski said, “I hope neighbors realize that they know people care about them; their local officials, to business owners. We want to make sure that they have a wonderful time this Christmas and holiday event and making sure that they know that their neighborhood is here for them."
The African American Cultural Center is one of the sponsors for this event. Bonner said while guests in attendance indulge in the holiday spirit and fellowship, she hopes the kindness shown today will continue to create a stronger buffalo.
"I hope what they take from this is that it's not all about taking but it's also about giving. I want to see them do exactly what Ike and BGS and Miss Porsha has sponsored. I want them to see that people care, and that people will give back if they see that someone is giving to them,” Bonner said.