Last month, Hearts held a dedication event to highlight our latest program, the Hearts Food Pantry Express. This event showcased the bus and honored donors and supporters who made it all possible. Held at the Hearts Campus, we had 33 people in attendance which included donors, volunteers, vendors and staff. Hearts’ President and CEO, Nick Calandra, started the event with a wonderful speech illustrating the journey of this program coming from an idea during the COVID-19 pandemic to what the program can accomplish for Western New York and beyond.
“At a time when burnout and fatigue was a reality, there was a lot going on in the world. This project was so unique and custom and people rallied behind it. That really shows through the bus and will show through the program as we go out and serve the community”, said Nick Calandra.
Guest speakers were:
- Pastor Ramona Williams, Buffalo First Church of the Nazarene
- David Norton, President of Specialty Meat and Seafood Group, Sysco
- Heidi Maher, Market Sales Manager-Buffalo, United Healthcare
- Toni Neidel, Christ United Methodist Church
As a gesture of Hearts’ appreciation to our donors, they were presented with a plaque and/or a gift basket for their contribution and support towards the Hearts Food Pantry Express.
After closing remarks, there was a celebratory reception with light food and refreshments and attendees were able to enjoy a tour of the bus and the Hearts Campus.
This program started on Monday, July 17, 2023 and is Hearts’ first program to reach those in need outside the city of Buffalo.
"We're considered the city of good neighbors and if you think about the work that Hearts is doing it's encouraging to see", said Dave Norton.
Hearts Food Pantry Express brings a client-choice food pantry into communities in need that are facing consistent gaps in service because either food pantries do not exist or those in need can not reach them from a lack of transportation. Food insecurity exists in neighborhoods around our region including Kenmore and the Cleveland-Hill area. These residents are often required to travel to other communities to find resources which causes added burdens to their situation. Hearts is dedicating the Food Pantry Express to not only help physically nourish the members of these communities but also feed people spiritually. We believe it is a great privilege and honor to meet new faces and form relationships with our neighbors outside of the city of Buffalo.
"God has worked in such an amazing way, our church is excited. We have a small, older congregation, and we are so honored and blessed that God would allow us to partner with Hearts to make this all possible", said Paster Ramona Williams.
- Hearts Food Pantry Express at Christ United Methodist Church
- Hearts Food Pantry Express at Buffalo First Church of the Nazarene
Click here to learn more about this program.
Click here to view additional photos from the event on our Facebook page.