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We Reopened the Thrift Shop!

Hearts for the Homeless staff in front of the thrift shop's entrance

The thrift shop opened June 2nd, and our staff and customers shared in the excitement together. 

thrift shop manager Maria welcomes shoppers at the door
Thrift Shop Manager, Maria, welcomes shoppers.
woman looking at shoes in the thrift shop
One of our regular customers enjoying her shopping experience

But, most notable about the reopening that reminds us of the reason why we exist, to minister to the people that come through our doors, we were surprised when the first person that came through our door after months of the store being closed was a woman who became homeless because of COVID-19 and was staying at the homeless shelter at ECC Flickinger Center, the very place Hearts dropped off provisions of food and clothing. After telling us her story, and praying the virus wouldn’t affect Hearts, the woman left Hearts with a small purchase she made which gave her a sense of dignity, she also received a free box of produce.

Cashier Anna at the register
Anna is always ready to serve thrift shop customers with a smile, even under her mask.
Masks were made and donated by a friend of Hearts in Grand Island.

God’s Provision Through You, Hearts as the Vessel

Everyone was grateful that all of our feeding programs are continuing during COVID. It has been great to see and hear stories about everyone who has come out to help all the people in need. Our programs at Hearts have benefited from the compassion and generosity of individuals, agencies, including our volunteers. You have all made the work we do possible and have allowed us to add additional programs, even beyond those we mentioned in last month’s newsletter.

Here are some of the programs we’ve added:

Pizza Nights

Hearts sends weekend pizza deliveries to COVID homeless shelters.
Hearts sends weekend pizza deliveries to COVID homeless shelters.

We are in our 8th week of sending pizza 2 nights a week to the COVID-19 Men’s Homeless Shelter, on the days our volunteers aren’t on the streets feeding. We will continue with this program as long as these men are being housed at the shelter. We received word recently that these homeless men could feasibly be there through August. If you would like to support this program, please call our office at 716-877-3536. The cost to send pizza is about $143.00.

Fresh Produce

CEO Nick and Board Member Kevin stand in front of a car loaded with boxes of food
Hearts CEO, Nick, and Board Member, Kevin, prepare to transport USDA produce boxes to Niagara Falls.

We have been able to offer fresh produce boxes made available from the Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families Program. One box has twenty pounds of fresh produce (see photo below) utilizing local items from local farmers, and given to individuals and families. We have been able to provide fresh produce to the Riverside Community and beyond as we mobilize the USDA Farmers to Families Food Boxes Program. We are able to get produce into the hands of anyone financially impacted by COVID-19.

fresh produces in bags - cabbage, oranges, onions, carrots , apples and potatoes
Fresh Produce Box contents from USDA Farmers to Families Program

Hearts also added 2 more mobile food pantry collaborations this month, for a total of 4; 2 in Riverside and 2 on the West Side of Buffalo. We are excited to support the community as we continue in partnership with FeedMore WNY and initiate new ones like USDA Farmers to Families.

man and woman pack bags of oranges at a table outside
More fresh produce given during our Mobile Food Pantry made possible by FeedMore WNY’s Food Bank partnership.

Our food pantry, Hearts Harvest Food Pantry, continues to be open every Monday from 12pm to 4pm and Friday from 10am to 2pm. Hearts food pantry is a welcomed and trusted resource for the community members to fill their cupboards and feed their families. From grains to produce to meat, we provide what’s needed to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Last month we served 1,737 individuals and 13, 212 meals.

green eco bags filled with groceries awaiting distribution
Groceries provided to Hearts community through Hearts Harvest Food Pantry.
Groceries such as cereal, vegetables, yogurt, turkey, canned food, cheese and grits on a table
Each bag given contained these grocery items.

Talk From the Street and Heart

Our volunteer mobile crews have been quite busy feeding our homeless and poor clients at the downtown library, then running off to take 40 meals over to the Holy Cross Shelter for the homeless men being housed there.

Nick with a homeless man
Hearts Mobile Crew Leader, Nick greets homeless man outside of the COVID homeless shelter

One night while serving meals at the library, everyone in line received Bombas Socks and when the team went to drop off food at the homeless shelter, everyone there also received the same socks – they all loved getting the Bombas socks!

homeless man holding up new pair of socks he received at Hearts mobile soup kitchen
Homeless man so happy to receive his meal along with a new pair of socks.

Then in early June, Batman showed up to work with the Saturday team and handed out personal care bags to all those standing in line.

man in Batman costume holding up a box of food
It’s not every day that Batman hands out personal care bags to our street friends!
Man in Batman costume serving food to the homeless
A true superhero, Batman happy to serve the homeless
Hearts volunteers standing in front of the Hearts bus
Come serve with us!
Lives touched by the Mobile Soup Kitchen. May 2020 Stats. Total clients served: 1,762. Homeless: 1,341. Male: 1,686. Female: 76. Children: 0. Total volunteer hours: 152.
man hands out food from the mobile soup kitchen bus
In May, Hearts Harvest Food Pantry Served 13,212 meals
In May, hearts Mobile Food Pantry Served 180 Individuals
Hearts for the Homeless red donation bin

Hearts has been reopening our red clothing bins closed during COVID-19. We are glad to take your donations at this time. Donations can be taken to 890 Tonawanda Street, 14207 or go to heartsforthehomeless.org and click on Bin Finder to find an open bin near you.

If you would like to download a printable pdf, please click here:
June 2020 Newsletter Footer