On Our Hearts
What Happens When It’s Cold Outside?
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10,11
The winter cold sure is biting this year. Many people tell us that it is weather like this that reminds them of the homeless, and tugs at their hearts to ask, “How can I help.” Hearts understands the challenge of the cold weather towards those who live outside as they gather at the downtown library to receive a daily meal. It is truly “our hearts for the homeless” that draws us to find out what their needs are and meet them.
Each of our outreach programs are affected by the cold weather since at some point someone is standing in a long line outside. Our purpose is to accommodate them, whether it’s helping them stay warm, getting them out of the cold during our food distributions, or sending them on their way with warm blankets, gloves, and socks. With a few slight alterations we are able to make it more comfortable for those we serve and help to brave the cold.
A great example of this is what we did recently with our Mobile Food Pantry, a monthly food supplement to our onsite food pantry. In the past it has always been held outside. But when the January pantry fell on one of those days that the temperature and wind chill factor hit the single digits, we knew we had to make a modification to our distribution. So, we brought it inside! As you can see in the photos, we carved out a path in our garage area with tables of food, homemade blankets, and family bags filled with toiletries and household goods. This kept the chill out and resulted in no frozen toes, and appreciative and happy patrons!
Hearts Mobile Soup Kitchen travels in the wintery weather to the downtown library, only kept away by a travel ban, carrying every warm item we can think of to ease the chill for the homeless and poor, and especially for those who are not staying inside. We also make known the resource Code Blue that will get them out of the cold by boarding their transport bus that will take them to a shelter. At these shelters, they will not only get a warm bed, they will also have a hot meal provided by Hearts for the Homeless to the Code Blue Shelters on Genesee Street and Holy Cross Shelter on Niagara Street.
Hearts Harvest Food Pantry is open every Monday and Friday for families and individuals in our community to receive groceries. Unfortunately, the waiting line is still outside, but we are working on a plan to make it more comfortable for them when the weather is unbearable. That could be through outdoor heaters or a waiting area with warm drinks in Hearts Café which is due to open soon. We are still working out details.
As you think of the homeless & poor this winter and you want to act on your awareness, giving your finances, tangible donations, time, or prayer will help us reach them in the most beneficial way.
FROM HEARTS KITCHEN
“Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter”
Total Clients Served: 338
Hot Meals Made for Homeless Shelters: 2,800
Meal Bags for Buffalo Dream Center Outreach: 400
TALK FROM THE STREET & HEART
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!…without money and without cost. Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” -Isaiah 55:1,6 Hearts Mobile Soup Kitchen has expanded our services to make sure every homeless person is receiving meals on a regular basis, regardless of whether they stand in our food line at the library or are staying at a shelter. While we continue with our regular meal distribution at the downtown library, we have expanded our reach to homeless shelters. Hearts currently delivers hot meals, drinks, sandwiches, and necessary supplies to 3 area homeless shelters.
CURRENT NEEDS FOR HOMELESS MEALS
SPAGHETTI & TOMATO SAUCE
WARM SOCKS & GLOVES
Bring donations to Hearts at 890 Tonawanda St., Riverside Ave.
Side of building – Ring bell at kitchen door.
We cannot accept expired food or opened containers!
DO NOT LEAVE DONATIONS OUTSIDE
HEARTS HARVEST FOOD PANTRY
It’s okay to need help…a woman came into the food pantry and burst into tears. She explained that she never had to come to a food pantry and she was embarrassed. Hearts pantry workers prayed with her and told her that’s why we are here. Our thrift store supervisor invited her to the thrift store and let her pick out a few clothing items for her teenage son at no charge. Upon entering the thrift store, she said what a blessing Hearts is to her and so many in the neighborhood. She also said the food pantry was a big help to her and it was a welcoming experience.
Hearts Harvest Food Pantry serves the 14207 area. Our pantry staff and volunteers welcome those in the community who need the help from a food pantry to feed their families, Monday 12pm to 4pm and Fridays 10am to 2pm at Hearts at 890 Tonawanda St., Riverside.
HEARTS MOBILE FOOD PANTRY
The cold didn’t keep Hearts from opening the Mobile Food Pantry or the neighbors from stopping by to receive the food FeedMore WNY delivered for them. But we did have to improvise a bit to make it more comfortable for them and to come in out of the cold weather. We received a phone call the next day: Neighbor, Ramona, called just to say thank you for the food from the mobile pantry and that she appreciates what we’re doing. Ramona is a regular at both of Hearts panties and she reminds us of the needs out there and always tries to be helpful! It is very encouraging to get this feedback.
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.
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.