Reaching out to ease burden of Buffalo’s impoverished communities

"They need a beacon of hope"
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Posted at 4:18 PM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 17:33:30-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The impact of poverty in some of Buffalo's neighborhoods has become dire. But community leaders are working tirelessly to collect clothing and food.

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Ready to giveaway food and items.

“This area — that we happen to be in — is a desert in a much, much deprived neighborhood,” Pastor James Giles, Buffalo Peacemakers.

A three-day giveaway event kicked off Thursday in the city’s Langfield/Kenfield neighborhood. The event is designed to ease the burden of poverty for families.

Buffalo Peacemakers and Buffalo F.A.T.H.E.R.S. are collaborating with the pastor of the Expressway Assembly of God, a church right off the 33 Expressway on Eggert Road — known as the “Highway of Hope”.

“People don't know where to turn. They don't know what to do next,” remarked Tom Sember, pastor, Expressway Assembly of God.

The leaders say in an already impoverished neighborhood, the pandemic is pushing poverty to an all time high.

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Lenny Lane, Buffalo F.A.T.H.E.R.S.

“It’s knowing where the people are hurting — knowing where the people are in need and that's our job,” declared Lenny Lane, Buffalo F.A.T.H.E.R.S.

That is why the two organizations are teaming-up with the church, National Grid and Colvin Cleaners, gathering clothing, coats, boots, hats, and gloves to give a little hope to families under extreme stress.

Melissa Warren, Buffalo resident.

“A lot of parents just out here struggling and people struggling to feed their children or even cloth their children,” replied Melissa Warren, Buffalo resident

Melissa Warren looks through the coats & winter jackets.

Free items will be available Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Expressway Assembly Church, 260 Eggert Road, Buffalo:

  • Coats
  • Winter clothing
  • Blankets
  • Boots
  • Hand sanitizers
  • Bags of food

Also, all children will be eligible to win a new bicycle donated by Burt’s Bikes.

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Residents gather to pickup items.

The Erie County Department of Health will also be on hand to provide free Narcan and COVID vaccinations.

Warren tells me the need is very deep in her neighborhood.

“It’s definitely hard and I can vouch for that — it’s hard,” responded Warren.

Warren and community leaders say this stress is having a direct impact on children and bringing violence into a school, like the shooting and stabbing that occurred last week outside McKinley High School.

Pastor James Giles, Buffalo Peacemakers.

“It spills over to the children in the school,” described Pastor Giles. “This some how contributes to the rash of violence we have in this community.

Pastor Giles says many inner-city children are also facing a great deal of trauma.

“That they have to deal with it on a daily basis and sometimes adults are insensitive to that trauma,” explained Giles.

Inside the giveaway.

The community leaders are offering this giveaway in a neighborhood they say has been marginalized with a lack of economic opportunities.

“That's why so many communities that are marginalized are going through these really hard times,” stated Giles.

Patricia Bozeman, Buffalo resident, says she was not only there to pick up some items for herself, but for families in her neighborhood.

Patricia Bozeman, Buffalo resident.

“But I try to help anybody that I can out in the neighborhood. If I see something that's available — I tell them or I’ll take something to them,” Bozeman described.

Along with all the items, bags of food are also being handed out.

The community leaders say food insecurity has become a major problem. That's why they now have this mobile food truck to bring food directly into the neighborhoods.

Mobile food truck.

“They need food like right now, so the minute we get it off the truck it's ready to eat,” explained Lane.

Lane says they are trying to provide a "beacon of hope".

“We hope to take the pressure off of these families,” Lane said.

Pastor Giles says anyone in the Buffalo community who feels that are in need should reach out to both him and Lane.

They can call Lane at 716-445-4053 or Giles, 716-609-2898.