Last month, Hearts was featured in both The Ken-Ton Bee Newspaper and The Cheektowaga Bee Newspaper in an article titled, “Hearts For The Homeless Continues To Nourish WNY”.
Since 1990, Hearts has been operating the Mobile Soup Kitchen which takes place downtown at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library five nights a week. The article highlights two different ways Hearts is contributing to helping communities in need within Western New York, outside the city limits.
Hearts will soon be launching a new program, Food Pantry Express. This bus will bring a mobile food pantry to neighborhoods outside of the city of Buffalo. One of the site locations is located at First Church of the Nazarene on Kenmore Ave. This neighborhood is currently facing a gap in service because either food pantries do not exist or those in need can not reach them due to lack of transportation. A second location will be held in the Cleveland-Hill area in Cheektowaga, at the Christ United Methodist Church. The bus will be equipped with custom shelves, a walk-in freezer and refrigeration units, allowing Hearts to distribute a variety of foods.
This new program has been transpiring since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, the need for services at the Hearts Harvest Food Pantry, located in Riverside, grew exponentially. This started the conversation about how to help other communities and in May 2022, fundraising began to purchase the bus and help those in need beyond the City of Buffalo.
Another huge way Hearts is helping to nourish Western New York is by opening a second location for the Hearts Thrift Store. In the fall of 2023, Hearts will be opening the doors at 2217 Sheridan Drive in Tonawanda. “The real purpose behind the expansion of the Thrift Store is so that we can further build what we call our social enterprise and further expand the way that we generate resources to support our outreach programs,” said Nick Calandra, President and CEO of Hearts. Proceeds from the Hearts Thrift Store(s) help fund outreach programs that feed the homeless and those facing food insecurity.