On Our Hearts
Every January, Hearts reflects back on the people we’ve served and programs we’ve carried out during the previous year. This past year represented the start of a “new hope” for Hearts – a hope to reach more people in need than ever before, especially as we recognized the great need in our local community. This “new hope” manifested even before the pandemic arrived. But the pandemic gave us all the more reason to move forward.
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31 NIV
The numbers above reflect the people we have served, fed, and reached out to through Hearts Mobile Soup Kitchen, Hearts Harvest Food Pantry and Mobile Food Pantry. We never thought the numbers of individuals served would have been this large. We feel blessed and used by God to have been able to reach them while at the same time saddened to see the masses in our own backyard hungry and needy.
One year ago, December, we opened Hearts Harvest Food Pantry and in that first year, the food pantry (including the mobile food pantry) served 23,551 individuals and 122,553 meals. We expect the numbers to climb in 2021 as more families learn about the pantry.
The poor and homeless that we feed at the Buffalo and Erie County Library downtown remains consistent in their need; the total number we feed inches up each year. We remain faithful to those who depend on Hearts being there with a dinner meal.
Added to our numbers served last year are the agencies we have been supporting by providing meals for those that they have been housing during COVID.
Since many of our programs were new last year, it’s hard to know whether COVID affected the total number of people served. In 2021, as the pandemic finally runs its course and the vaccine takes effect, we might find that answer. But no matter which way the numbers go, we will continue to serve beyond COVID, the agencies housing the homeless, along with our other programs mentioned above.
In carrying out our “new hope” to serve more people in need, we will also continue to look for other opportunities to fight against hunger and poverty in order to keep our communities cared for, fed, and in good spirits. We hope to form new partnerships with other agencies, as well as keep our eyes and ears open to calls for help.
Thank you to all of you who are standing with us in support of what we are doing, and for the sake of loving your neighbor. May 2021 be a year of “peace that passes all understanding in Christ Jesus.”
Thrift Shop News
As we approach 2021, our prayer for you is
to stay healthy and safe.
“The Lord Bless you and keep you.”
Remember, when you shop you are supporting our outreach to the homeless, poor and local community.
Lives Touched Last Month
Total Clients Served: 1,795
Meal Bags for Buffalo Dream Center Outreach: 400
Talk from the Street and Heart
Our partnership with the Buffalo Dream Center to hold an Annual Christmas Eve Dinner every year was challenged this year by COVID. But we prevailed and held it outside at Fireman’s Park down the street from where we feed the poor and homeless at the Buffalo & Erie County Library. Everyone received a take away meal, enjoyed music, festive fellowship, and a message from Pastor Eric. They also received personal bags of the homemade Christmas cookies that many of you made for this event.
Thank you to everyone who baked Christmas Cookies for this event. The cookies are always a welcomed treat because it gives us the opportunity to give each guest a take-away bag or two so they can remember the good time they had long after the dinner is over.
Because we had such a big turn-out of those who baked cookies, we were also able to deliver cookies to the following agencies to spread the “holiday cookie cheer” to the communities they serve: Holy Cross Homeless Shelter, Table of Grace Homeless Feeding Program, The Magdalene Project in Niagara Falls.
Hearts was also able to take Christmas Eve dinners and sweets to Holy Cross Homeless Shelter for the homeless guests that we feed there on a regular basis. What a blessing for them to be able to take part in their own Christmas celebration at the shelter.
Hearts street outreach at the Library was also filled with Christmas celebrations as the Mobile Crew teams and visiting groups handed out personal care bags, treat bags with inspirational messages, new blankets, warm winter wear, and so much more!
Thank you to everyone who participated in helping the underserved population enjoy the holiday season.
Hearts Harvest Food Pantry
One year-ago December, Hearts opened a food pantry to serve the 14207 area. During COVID, we were able to help others outside of our zip code affected by COVID. We have helped hundreds of people. 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.
In keeping our pantry stocked with canned goods for the hot meals we serve on the street, we can use your help to continue our outreach to the COVID homeless shelters 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;
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.
Hearts follows strict COVID regulations; please note that some of the photos in this newsletter were taken pre-COVID.