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Fighting gun violence in Buffalo: Is money an issue?

Community groups plea for more funds
Posted at 5:41 PM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 17:46:23-04

BUFFALO, NY. (WKBW) — Mad Dads of Buffalo, Back to Basics Ministries, Most Valuable Parents of Buffalo, Stop the Violence Coalition and Buffalo Peacemakers are just some of the many organizations trying to prevent gun violence in the Queen City. All of the groups said their work is hindered by lack of finances.

"When it comes to the violence in our community, there are so many things that have to be done in order to bring that violence level down," Mia Ayers-Goss, Director of Most Valuable Parents of Buffalo (MVP), said.

The groups work with young adults in Buffalo who are at risk to participating in gang activity.

"A lot of them are homeless and runaway youth. They don't have adequate living quarters. They don't have a place to lay their head at night, so they join gangs. They join different crews," Pastor Kenneth Simmons, president of Mad Dads of Buffalo, said.

The groups also spend time helping those who have been affected by violence in Buffalo.

"We are out here every single day putting our lives on the line. It's a dangerous situation, but we're still doing it because it's coming from the heart. Why not pay the people that are doing things that are coming from the heart?" Lamarr Scott, a member of Mad Dads of Buffalo, said.

The groups said despite the large amount of work they do, there is little to no funding.

"The quiet work that mad dads does. The quiet work that stop the violence does. The unheralded work that they're doing has saved lives. The quiet work that MVP does. The quiet work is unheralded and also unfunded," Pastor James Giles, president and CEO of Back to Basics Ministries and administrator for the Buffalo Peacemakers, said.

Some organizations do receive money from the state, city and other corporations, but they said it's difficult to get their hands on.

"You give Peacemakers a poultry of what is actually needed for what we do," Pastor Giles said.

"We do not have any regular funding and we do not have large grants," Ayers-Gross said.

Right now, they said the majority of what they do comes out of pocket.

"The van that I drive with the Stop the Violence logo on it, that money comes out of my pocket," Murray Holman, the founder of Stop the Violence, said.

"We take them fishing every Thursday. That was out of our pocket. Most of the things we do comes out of pocket. Everything we do, the HEAT program, that comes out of pocket," John Smith, a member of Mad Dads of Buffalo, said.

Now, they're pleading for more resources from the government and the public.

"It's kind of hard to be effective when you don't have resources. We have all the good intentions in the world. You can volunteer a million hours but if you don't have the resources, it means nothing," Gabriel Williams, a member of Mad Dads of Buffalo, said.

The groups said if they could receive more money, they could make a larger impact on decreasing gun violence in the city of Buffalo.

"If you have funding, that means you would have more people, more boots on the ground, more people to give and assist and provide services. We will have more marketing to let people know those resources are available. Which means ultimately we would be able to see a decline in violence all together all throughout our community," Karlanda Meadors, a member of MVP, said.