On Our Hearts
A Renewed Appreciation for Our Mobile Crew Volunteers
Donna from our office helped out the Wednesday night crew to feed the homeless downtown. Her experience on this blizzard-like evening gave her a new appreciation for Hearts’ volunteers. The usual 15-minute drive downtown took Team Leader, Steve, and Donna, forty-five minutes due to the weather and traffic. Two Wednesday volunteers usually meet the team downtown; but, making it through the snow wasn’t guaranteed. Maria and Debbie, individually, drove their cars and actually got downtown before our Mobile Soup Kitchen bus arrived. They were able to assure our street clients that food was coming but slightly delayed. The snow didn’t hold back the chronic homeless from coming out to eat and thirty plus people were in line as the bus arrived.
Once downtown, Donna was reminded and experienced first-hand what the crews do to fulfill the requests of the clients. Not only do the teams sacrifice an evening of their personal time each week, 52 weeks of the year, they enthusiastically distribute food, clothing, toiletries, blankets, and encouraging words to each street client. Clients were cold but, grateful and appreciative. In the midst of the snowfall, Donna heard chatter and laughter coming from the clients and the same from the volunteers mixed in with kind words and a demeanor of care and compassion. Steve also has a great rapport with our clients; he prayed for the meal before they were fed and always brings along socks, soap, and razors donated by a couple in N. Tonawanda. Debbie also brought a huge donation of clothing, toiletries, and warm wear from The Tabernacle Church in Orchard Park. You can hear Steve call out to each client “tuna, chicken, or pbj?” and “you have a choice of 2 items from the socks, soap, and razors – what will it be?”
Other crew members inside the bus are ready to hand Steve the sandwich choice, along with the hot meal and take away lunch bag; then, the socks, soap or razors are given to each client along with their meal. The team went on to the Harbor House, where Code Blue clients go and fed 17 more people with our leftovers; then 10 more received clothing & toiletries after all the food was gone. Donna’s toes were frozen and hurt. As the bus pulled away, she tore off her shoes and rushed to put her feet on the dashboard vents to warm her toes with the heat; but, she stopped quick in her tracks and sadly put into perspective that if her toes were frozen, so must be the other team members, and more so, the street clients, and they don’t’ have a car heater or home to go to, to put their toes up to the furnace. Donna finally made it home that night at about 8:45 pm. Although, a 4-hour evening isn’t the norm; Hearts volunteers are ready to take on any challenge facing them. Because of their heart for the outreach and dedication to the homeless, Hearts’ is very blessed to have such high caliber volunteers in our midst.
By donating, your support changes lives.
Talk from the Street & Heart
3/20: Served 64; all went well; we prayed for a man, then he began to pray for us and thanked God for the food and for us – he was very grateful for his food and clothes that he received.
Support the homeless by donating to one of our red Donation Bins. Donations of clothing, shoes, blankets, and accessories can be made at one of our 400+ distinctive red bins. Your donations directly support the poor and homeless. While proceeds from our thrift store and recycling ministry are used to feed those in need and to maintain and expand our ministry. Use our Bin Finder below to find your nearest donation bin:
Hearts Thrift Shop
Thrift Shop News
Spring is here, Hearts Thrift Shop is stuffed with merchandise in all clothing and household departments. Check us out before paying the prices at the Malls. We only sell clothing that we would wear ourselves, and household items fit for our own homes. Check us out!
Hearts has a new color system to identify sales on household and décor items. Every month we have a color or two that identifies merchandise 50% off. For April, any household or décor item with a pink or yellow tag is 50% off. There are also other storewide sales on a regular basis.
Previously, our thrift shop helped area schools whose students had clothing needs. Students came in excited to pick out their own clothes and left with several outfits at no charge. Last month, we helped a student from Hotel and Hospitality Management class at The New Buffalo School of Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management. She was about to start an internship at the Buffalo Marriott Hotel. Her teacher told us all she owned were jeans and sweats! Hearts Thrift Shop provided the student with three outfits for her internship.
Where to find Hearts for the Homeless’ Thrift Store
(click map for directions)