BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Johnnie B Wiley Amateur Sports Pavilion, which sits about a block away from the Tops supermarket location on Jefferson Avenue, has been a valuable resource center for some of the people most directly affected.
Erie County 1st deputy commissioner, Marie Cannon said, "We are in a space of time that we've never been in before, which means that we have to do something different."
The sports pavilion is continuing to be a "healing hub" for Buffalo's east side.
Free services will be offered, like grocery giveaways, as well as mental health and trauma counseling. Wegmans was also donating lunches and dinners for volunteers and clients and Starbucks offered free coffee, tea, and sweets throughout the day.
"As someone that lives with several mental health conditions, mental health is not an excuse for poor, bad, malicious malintent behavior. It is not acceptable. That being said, we have all been traumatized, and this is a place where we can begin to heal together," Erie County director of Health Equity, Kelly Wofford said.
From now until Friday, May 27 from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., Erie County will partner with agencies that have trained professionals to speak with people about their trauma.
"We have counselors here that actually look like you. Those who were terrorized in our community. Some of these counselors have shared the same experiences that you have shared. They understand the trauma that you are dealing with," Erie County legislator for District 2, April Baskin said.
Everyone is welcome and no appointments are needed.
Erie County personnel commissioner, Timothy Hogues said, "So, I'm going to challenge Black people to speak up. Let your voices be heard about what you want to see and eventually, we will get there together."
Additionally, the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. Phi Omega Chapter, is switching gears for their scholarship fundraising efforts and are turning their focus into donating dinners to employees affected by the closing of the Jefferson Avenue Tops.
"It's great for us to be able to come together for our community and switch our fundraiser from something that was focused on us to something that is focused on our community. We want to make sure that we take care of our community as needed," Johnnie B Wiley Sports Pavilion director, Cedric Holloway said.
To help in the organization's philanthropy efforts in helping Buffalo's east side during this difficult time, monetary donations can be sent via Cashapp at $2ndDistrictQues1947.