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Buffalo's Day of Hope and Healing is making sure families are ready for the school year

Buffalo Day of Hope and Healing
Posted at 10:14 AM, Jul 31, 2022

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Buffalo Day of Hope and Healing is making sure families have everything they need as the new school year approaches. One mom told 7 News she has 10 children at home and seven of them will be returning to the Buffalo Public School District.

"With inflation and the prices the way things are school supplies are in great need," said Nina Littlejohn.

Several local officials at the event expressed the communities need for not only financial assistance but mental and emotional help as well. In the wake of several mass shootings, they say many families are still recovering. Littlejohn said she doesn't fear for the upcoming school year and knows her family has to keep pushing.

"Our community is one that has been targeted by racial violence but understanding that we're still safe," said Littlejohn. "We still have to live. We have to move on but we need to be together as a family. That's the way we see it."

Littlejohn told 7 News her family has been relying on daily affirmations, togetherness and prayer to get them through their recovery period. Governor Kathy Hochul was in attendance to show she stood together with the community. Governor Hochul handed out food and backpacks to members of the community while expressing her desire to be there for them.

"None of use ever want to be on that list of cities that you talk about and now even Uvalde happening after Buffalo," said Governor Hochul. "There's a lot of pain out there so as Governor, if I can just come here and hug some of the families and pick up some kids and tell them they're going to be okay and bring the resources that we have so generously from CCC in Brookyln and places all across the county. It's my priority. My priority is to be where the people need me and I just felt like my community needed me today."

3,000 backpacks and 45,000 pounds of food was donated, according to Tiffany Brinkley, Director of Community Impact at United MegaCare.

"Right now United MegaCare is sponsoring the food drive," said Brinkley. "We'll distribute it to any family that comes here that's in need. We are actually just excited to be apart of this partnership with the Day of Healing and to be able to bless these families with these resources."

Each backpack was filled with school supplies for the students and resources for free virtual counseling as well, according to Brinkley.

"For any of the families that want to pair up with our center of behavioral counseling we actually offer those," said Brinkley. "They're actually stuffed inside those bags, brochures so where they can link arms with some of our counselors back home and get as much free counseling as needed."

Over $50 million in financial opportunities will become available to community members, according to Governor Hochul.

"We need money to rebuild this community and we need it now," said Governor Hochul. "So, we put over $50 million on the table back in June and said this is for homeowners, this is for small businesses, this is for people behind on their rent and utility. We're here to help build you back up and build you back stronger."

Information about how to apply for the funds will begin August 9th and the Merriweather Library from 4pm to 7pm.

"We're going to have people there to help you apply for money," said Governor Hochul. "If you're a homeowner and need some repairs, you're behind in your rent, you come there on that day and we'll help you figure out how to get access to that money."