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Response to Love Center needs help cleaning up kitchen after flood

About 150 people went without meals because of the flood
Posted at 9:44 PM, Aug 08, 2022

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Response to Love Center provides free hot meals, cooking classes, ESL classes, and much more to the community. However, their services abruptly paused Monday morning after finding their basement flooded with water and sewage.

"125 to 130 people did not receive a free meal today because we couldn't serve what we wanted to," Sister Mary Johnice, the director of Response to Love, said.

After a weekend filled with rain, the basement flooded with about an inch or two of water and sewage.

"It was like getting hit in the nose with sewer," Michael Gilhooly, the assistant director of Response to Love, said.

"So we're calling this project the Noah project because Noah was in the flood, and that's where we were today. From 6 o'clock in the morning, we were just mopping floors and cleaning up the building so at least we could walk through here," Sister Johnice said.

The Sisters worked hard to clean what they could, but the smell would not go away. They said they have to hire a cleaning crew to come in and sterilize the entire basement so they can begin to cook and serve meals there again.

"We're looking at probably a $10,000 remediation to get this taken care of. We can't do this every time it rains. This is going to kill our budget. But we're hoping with the goodwill of the Buffalo people, they've come through and helped us before... We could really use some help with this because we had about 150 people today that we had to say I'm sorry we don't have anything prepared because we don't have a kitchen to prepare it in," Gilhooly said.

In the meantime, Response to Love plans to make their meals in a small kitchen upstairs and to feed the community outside.

"Please help us if you can in any way. Either contribute or kneel down and say a little prayer for us. We can use that as well," Sister Johnice said.

Sister Johnice said she knows with the support of Western New York, this too shall pass.

"You know what? We've learned to weather the storm, and we will. We will not give up. Noah didn't. He saw the rainbow. So will we," Sister Johnice said.

You can donate to Response to Love online by clicking this linkor you can mail donations to 130 Kosciuszko Street Buffalo, New York 14212.

In an update provided Tuesday morning, the Response to Love Center said it raised thousands of dollars after the story aired. Based on the donations that have been received, they will be able to cover the roughly $10,000 cost to clean up.

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Although the center followed up with good news, there was also some bad news that was shared. The center said a plumber came and inspected the pipes and determined their own pipes are causing the flooding. The center wants to get it fixed immediately because the longer they wait, the longer they have to go without their kitchen/dining room. There is no estimate on how much the repairs may cost but the center continues to ask for the public's assistance.