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On Our Hearts

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” – Genesis 8:22 ESV

Tired and homeless at Hearts meal distribution.
Tired and homeless at Hearts meal distribution.

We hope you’ve had some enjoyment this summer amidst the many changes and challenges we’ve faced. The summer has been a very busy time for Hearts.

The month of August always seems to be a transitional month or a time when you begin to think about summer’s departure and fall approaching, or back to school. For others, however, the end of summer may have an altogether different meaning.

The homeless think about what lays ahead, a seasonal transition different than those who aren’t homeless. The homeless who desire housing are desperate to find a secure place to stay. Those who are more chronic and choose to live outside still need to find resources to get them through the change of seasons like warming centers and overnight housing, and food. If they are lucky, they’ll get into a shelter.

Homeless without shelter during COVID.
Homeless without shelter during COVID.

About 20% of the homeless population meets the criteria of “chronic homelessness.” Chronic homelessness is defined as a single individual (or head of household) with a disabling condition who has either: experienced homelessness for longer than a year, during which time the individual may have lived in a shelter, safe haven, or a place not meant for human habitation.

We try our best to provide masks for our homeless friends on the street.
We try our best to provide masks for our homeless friends on the street.

People experiencing chronic homelessness are the most vulnerable population. This 20% of the population Hearts Mobile Soup Kitchen feeds daily, all year-round. They stand in our feeding line with the other homeless and poor to receive a hot meal and take-away meal bag. They will also find needed clothing, blankets, toiletries and other necessities on our food shuttle to help them make it through their days on the street. 

Many homeless people have been through life transitions of the worst kind. They may be in transition to adulthood and aging out of foster care or a youth residence, or homeless due to loss of job, even just having the stress of transitioning from warm weather to cold is difficult. Each person has a story! 

Tuesday volunteer mobile crew pose for a pic before heading out to feed the homeless and poor.
Tuesday volunteer mobile crew pose for a pic before heading out to feed the homeless and poor.

Whatever the reason for their homelessness, Hearts has been there for the last 30 years, and we will continue to be there to serve them through any transition. Right now, some are transitioning from COVID shelters to the street or to other shelters as it is unclear if the COVID shelters will be open throughout the fall and winter. Hearts has been providing food to the COVID shelters where they have been staying. If the COVID shelters stay open Hearts will be right there with them providing meals. We are committed to help our homeless friends wherever they are.

Hearts Mobile Soup Kitchen shuttle bus at Holy Cross COVID shelter delivering food.
Hearts Mobile Soup Kitchen shuttle bus at Holy Cross COVID shelter delivering food.

Will you join us in caring for these underprivileged populations whether through your finances, food or clothing donations, volunteering, or getting the word out to others who might want to help?

volunteer handing out bag with food

Lives Touched Last Month
 
Total Clients Served – 1,974
Homeless – 1,405
Male – 1,825
Female – 129
Seniors – 8
Children – 20
Meal Bags for Buffalo Dream Center Outreach – 160
Total Volunteer Hours – 185
 

Talk from the Street and Heart

A big thank you to those who answered our call to help us keep the homeless population hydrated this summer; we’ve been able to distribute ice cold water each night that we go downtown to feed them. The bottled water has been a lifeline during this very hot summer.

Homeless man receiving water from Hearts’ crew member.
Homeless man receiving water from Hearts’ crew member.
Thank you to all of you who donated water.
Thank you to all of you who donated water.

Many of the homeless being housed at COVID shelters are starting to venture out and coming to the Downtown Library to eat again. In addition to their meal, we’ve been getting a lot of requests for clothing from them for pants, shirts and sneakers in all sizes.

Homeless and poor in line for meal distribution.
Homeless and poor in line for meal distribution.

We’ve been able to keep up with requests for socks, soap, and razors. We’ve also been handing out personal care bags, back packs, and all types of other toiletries throughout the summer.

Additionally, a shout out to Stevie at Harris Hill UMC for the monthly goodies – homemade brownies and cookies are such a treat for all who stand in line.

Homeless and poor in the feeding line receiving clothes, socks, and extras.
Homeless and poor in the feeding line receiving clothes, socks, and extras.

Our teams continue to pray for those who are standing in Hearts feeding line. For Rob, Hearts’ Tuesday night Team Leader, it is a vital activity each week; there are always people wanting to pray with Rob for salvation through Jesus Christ.

Praying is a priority for those in need.
Praying is a priority for those in need.

Staying one step ahead, Hearts is gearing up now for the fall season. Help us continue our outreach to the COVID homeless shelter and to those who come to the Downtown Library. If you would like to organize a food drive or donate needed food items, listed below is what our immediate needs are. For a complete list of needed food items, please call or email our office at 716-877-3536; office@heartsforthehomeless.org,
or go to our website at www.heartsforthehomeless.org

 

Immediate Food Needs Homeless Outreach: Canned Beef Stew, Chili, Canned Peas, Corn, and Carrots

Hearts Harvest Food Pantry

Our pantry staff and volunteers welcome those in the community who need the help from a food pantry to feed their families, Monday 12 to 4; and Fridays 10 to 2 at Hearts at 890 Tonawanda St. Riverside.

We look forward to serving the community.
We look forward to serving the community.
In July, Hearts Harvest Food Pantry Served 16,938 Meals
HouseholdsInfantsToddlersChildrenAdultsSeniorsIndividuals
628491275231,116671,882
A local family walking with groceries received from our food pantry.
A local family walking with groceries received from our food pantry.
BAGGED GROCERIES
Hearts will hold a Mobile Food Pantry this fall every 1st Friday of the month behind DePaul Apartments at 238 Ontario St., Riverside. The community can come as often as we have them as a supplement to our onsite food pantry. It’s a special time for them and the fresh produce, dairy, and other quality food is a blessing for them. They leave happy and appreciative.

Smiling faces from our volunteer crews ready to serve the community.
Smiling faces from our volunteer crews ready to serve the community.
 We are always happy to serve.
 We are always happy to serve.
In July Hearts Mobile Food Pantry Served 180 Individuals
Households Infants Toddlers Children Adults Seniors Individuals
60 2 5 12 78 15 112
Nourishing the Community with Dignified Service.

Thrift Shop News

Thrift Shop Manager, Maria, welcome customers.

Shopping in August will have a duo purpose! We have summer sales and fall clothing in stock and we promise you great deals. Remember, when you shop you are supporting our outreach to the homeless, poor and local community. 

woman looking at shoes in the thrift shop
Thrift Shop Customer

Hearts Thrift Shop continues to reach those in need:

♥  We received a note today from a man who we gave clothes, shoes and personal care items, at no cost, who was acclimating back into society. He was so grateful and his spirits were very high as he updated us on what he is doing now. 

♥  Our prayer box is filling –the thrift shop staff is committed to praying for all the requests. Last month, a customer came in and asked for prayer for a pain in her body. She came in again to tell us she was healed from that pain! We thank God for answered prayer.  

♥ Heartfelt condolences to the family of long-time customer, Barb, who went onto her heavenly home. We remember her fondly as a neighbor who came in daily and purchased jewelry for her dolls – she loved dressing her dolls as a hobby and to keep busy. She will be missed.

Clothing Donations

Hearts for the Homeless donation bin
We are so grateful for all of your donations. We also have a bin onsite at our outreach center at 890 Tonawanda Street; you can find the bins located in your area by going to our website at www.heartsforthehomeless.org, click on Bin Finder, put in your zip code and those in your area will appear. 
 
If you would like to download a printable pdf, please click here: