On Our Hearts
“Weep with those who weep”
Hearts Thrift Shop News
For over 2+ decades, Hearts Thrift Shop has been a long-standing resource for the Black Rock Riverside community, not just for purchasing clothing and housewares, but a place to come to be heard, whether to be prayed for, receive spiritual support and friendship, obtain free clothing, accessories, and housewares (for those with needs), or just to step off the city streets for a few moments of peace.
As the scripture above says, “Weep with those who weep,” we try to be sensitive to everyone entering the thrift store who may be hurting, having difficulties, or suffering. For the Lord Himself wept for others.
Originally, the idea of starting a thrift shop was to create a micro-enterprise(s), to hire people from within the community and to provide quality clothing for a great price. In the beginning, all clothing sold for $1 each! After opening more than one store, we weren’t able to keep all 3 stores stocked with enough merchandise, so we merged them all into one store when we purchased the building at 890 Tonawanda St., with the same motive of creating a micro-enterprise, hiring from within the community, selling quality clothing at affordable prices and utilizing any profit from sales for feeding the homeless.
Here’s a look at the historical progression:
- May 1996, 1st thrift store on Genesee Street
- October 1996, 2nd thrift store on Main Street
- September 1997, 3rd thrift store at the new Black Rock Riverside building.
- 1999 merged all thrift stores into 1 thrift store at 890 Tonawanda Street
- February, 2018 renovated Hearts Thrift Shop at 890 Tonawanda Street
We invite you to go online to our website at www.heartsforthehomeless.org and take a trip down “memory lane” and view our timeline, then read some older newsletters to see for yourself the love that was extended out into the community by the founders, staff, and volunteers at Hearts. The one thing that has always been consistent is helping those in need, no matter what the need was; we always tried our best to provide, and that continues today.
Most recently to these:
♥ One very poor woman who has an autistic son with many needs – we are trying to assist them with what we have available in the store, food pantry, and other donations that come in.
♥ A woman who was in the dressing room trying on shorts – when she came out of the dressing room with a pair of shorts on, the bruises on her legs were very obvious, her legs were all swollen and sore. She said she was beaten by her husband and pushed out of a car. She has been staying in Riverside Park for 4 days. We were able to give her clothing, shoes, water, and a resource sheet of places to stay. We also gave her money our staff had been saving up for a pizza day! We prayed for her and she asked if she could hug us in gratitude.
♥ An older man came in with only $2 – he was in need of a pair of sneakers. We gave him a pair at no charge and returned to him his $2.
♥ We partner with several agencies – we give them clothing to give to their clients.
♥ A regular customer, who for quite some time, has been coming in and buying a large assortment of shoes – we recently found out that he has been purchasing them and sending them to Africa, to his brother, who has a store there. That really touched our hearts. So now, each month, Hearts will be setting aside shoes for this customer, at no charge, for his brother along with well wishes for business success.
These are the stories forefront in our minds, but they are not the only requests we received. While these are some of the needs that came in through the thrift store, daily our other outreaches are also receiving requests, the office phone rings, people show up, needs come through our food pantry, as well as from those who are living on the street.
And, that is why Hearts exists, and you are a part of it all, through the support that you provide to us!
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.
Lives Touched Last Month
“Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter”
Total Clients Served: 630
Meal Bags for Buffalo Dream Center Outreach: 40
Talk from the Street and Heart
Community Partnership 2nd Summer Lunch Event
Hearts took part in their second Summer Lunch Program this month, assisting the West Side Promise Neighborhood group in reaching out to the families in the Black Rock Riverside community within the Shaffer Village complex. The families really enjoyed the festivities and were especially happy that we chose to come to their neighborhood.
Hearts Harvest Food Pantry
Hearts is getting closer to moving into or new building where the food pantry will be permanently located. 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.
It was great to see all of the people that came out to the first Mobile Food Pantry at our new location. We served 146 families.
Hearts Mobile Food Pantry is held every 4th Wednesday of the month at Hearts Outreach Center at 890 Tonawanda St., Riverside, from 1pm to 3pm (sign-in at 12:30pm). Families in our community can come as often as we have them as a supplement to our onsite food pantry.
**** Some of these photos are pre-Covid