Give Unto Those Who Need It Most
by Jamie Moses
I suppose we all should be inspired by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan’s recent decision to give away 99 percent of their Facebook stock, a charitable giving worth $45 billion. Zuckerberg and fellow billionaires Bill Gates ($31 billion given already) and Warren Buffet ($22 billion given) have inspired another 130 billionaires to follow suit.
We know the average kind hearted Buffalo good neighbor is not likely to reach such charitable levels. However, the personal reward that being charitable brings is probably much the same whether you’re handing out a bowl of hot soup or a fat check. We’ve put together a few suggestions for our readers to consider.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral “Garden of Warmth”
A man stopped at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral at the corner of Church and Pearl and asked if they had a coat to protect him from the cold. They didn’t, so the church’s friends of the bronze statue Homeless Jesus created the Garden of Warmth in Cathedral Park. They constructed a trellis behind the statue held by crosses for people to clip mittens, socks hats and scarves with clothes pins. Larger items like jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts, blankets and boots can be placed in clear plastic bags on the wall behind Homeless Jesus. Winter gear for children is needed as well. A sign will invite those sleeping in Cathedral Park or simply passing by to “Take what you Need.” The Garden of Warmth will continue through winter. Compassion is a blessing for those in need.
M&T Bank’s Gift of Warmth
St. Paul’s is not the only one thinking of the often brutal Buffalo winter and those unprepared for it. 30 years ago one M&T employee wanted to help meet the need for warm winter clothing or accessories. That evolved into a bank program that brings in about 3,500 items of winter clothing each year which is delivered to the Salvation Army. Donations of mittens, gloves, scarves and hats for needy Western New Yorkers can be made at any of the 112 area M&T branches until Dec. 31.
Buffalo City Mission
One of many faith-based organizations locally, the City Mission has been feeding and sheltering the poor and destitute of Buffalo for 93 years, as well as offering limited free medical care and rehabilitation services. This year alone they have served 190,000 free meals to the homeless. Pitch in by shopping at their thrift store at 510 Dick Rd. in Depew, or by donating old furniture, blankets and dishes, as well as non-perishable food items and hygiene products (www.buffalocitymission.org, 100 E. Tupper St., 854-8181)
One really simple, win-win way to help a homeless person out this holiday season is to give him your empty bottles and cans for deposit. You probably see them everyday, walking their shopping carts down city streets and sifting through recycling and garbage containers, looking for the nickel nuggets that too many of us throw away. It’s easy enough to save up your bottles and set them out by the curb occasionally. Or, if you want to be really sure they’re getting to the right place, wait until you hear the familiar rattle of a shopping cart and flag him or her down. It makes them happy and if you have a small apartment it helps you keep down some of the clutter.
Haven House—Providing safe, confidential services to victims of domestic violence. Help out with tax-deductible donations of personal care items, baby supplies and children’s activity supplies. (www.cfsbny.org, 884-6000)
That Could Be Your Mom
During the holidays many of the elderly in nursing homes can also benefit from the help and simple camaraderie that volunteers can provide. Here a good course of action would be to contact the nursing homes directly to see what kind of assistance might be needed.
Friends of the Night People
For more than 40 years, Friends of the Night People has been serving meals and providing essential support services on a daily basis to the homeless, destitute and working poor of our community. The nonprofit group receives no funding from the government, and instead relies on contributions from area businesses, schools, churches and individuals—as well as the collaborative efforts of many organizations—notably the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, Neighborhood Legal Services, and Crisis Services. They also receive essential help from the Food Bank of Western New York in the form of donated and discounted foods. Anyone wishing to volunteer should phone 716-884-5375. 394 Hudson Street, Buffalo, NY, 14201
Through the sale of donated items, Goodwill has funded job training and other career services for millions of Americans for over 100 years, helping them become successful at work. Last year alone, Goodwill helped more than 26 million people train for careers and get additional education, English language training, and access to childcare and transportation. You can help out by bringing your old clothes, furniture, dishes, computer or even a car to one of the five area Goodwill Store locations, or by donating directly (www.goodwill.org)
Literacy NY Buffalo-Niagara
“If you can read these words, you have the power to enlighten, to offer dignity, to build confidence, to make dreams come true and to create a reader.” That’s the first line on the Literacy Volunteers’ Web page about becoming a literacy volunteer, a tutor who teaches reading or English as a Second Language. For 42 years, Literacy Volunteers has been training volunteer tutors to pass on their reading and English language skills to undereducated locals and newly landed immigrants. All it takes to teach someone is the ability to read and two hours each week for one-on-one tutoring sessions with your student. So turn off “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Kid Nation” and use those two hours to get out and make a difference in someone’s life by empowering them with the gift of words. (www.literacybuffalo.org, Buffalo & Erie County Library, 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo NY)blog comments powered by Disqus
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