On Our Hearts
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails…Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
Proverbs 19:21; 16:3
Springtime is a great time to look ahead, and to make plans. There is something about fresh and warmer weather that puts hope into the air. Currently, at Hearts, we have a lot planned for this coming season, some of which we have never done before. As we continue to partner with other agencies, we are finding all kinds of great opportunities to reach out to the homeless, along with the very people that live in the community where Hearts Outreach Center is located.
Here’s some of our upcoming plans: As the hot meal season comes to an end, Lamont, Hearts’ cook, is putting together a menu of cold sides to go along with the sandwiches, dessert, and beverages that we distribute regularly to those who stand in the feeding line at the Downtown Library. Each night of the week, they will receive entrées that we have never served them before, along with their sandwiches. These entrees include a fresh fruit salad, potato salad, Italian pasta salad, macaroni salad, and gelatin parfait with whipped crème. We are looking forward to getting their feedback on these new spring/summer side salads.
Hearts is continuing our partnership with the Restoration Society this spring and summer as they continue their Code-19 program to shelter homeless men and women during COVID. We will be sending hot meals to them for their daily distribution, 7-days a week.
A couple of months ago, we formed a new partnership with the West Side Promise Neighborhood, a network of agencies that exist to promote care and support for every child and family on the West Side. Hearts has been invited to join hands with them to reach the families within a mile or two radius of Hearts during their Summer Lunch Programs to promote Hearts Harvest Food Pantry to the parents of these children so they can utilize it as a food resource and supplement for their monthly food budgets. This is a huge effort which will include 4 summer events promoting the pantry, feeding people, handing out flyers, and mingling with all the families.
Stay tuned for our update in July and August.
We also continue to provide sandwiches (and hot meals when needed) to the Little Portion Friary, as well as 100 meal bags and sandwiches to the Buffalo Dream Center for their Sunday Curbside Church service and outreach.
And that’s a taste of some of what our spring/summer will involve. As always, we are excited to be partnering together with other agencies for the good of those with needs.
Hearts Thrift Shop News
Hearts Thrift Shop has limitless kindnesses that the staff imparts on a daily basis, even our customers carry out acts of charity for other customers, many of which go unreported. Here are some we know about.
♥ With the nicer weather and the heaviness of COVID lifting, our thrift store has seen an increase of customers and sales. It was a year ago, June, that we reopened the store due to its closure because of COVID. We are so grateful for the increase and thankful our customers are finding their way back to us.
♥ A longtime customer who sometimes causes trouble, of whom we hadn’t seen in quite a while, came in several times right before Easter asking for prayer. She wanted God to help her to start over and she rededicated herself to the Lord. After receiving prayer from us, she came back to Hearts to say she had returned to church and has been going to Renovation Church on Hertel Ave. because it is in walking distance. Hearts Thrift Shop staff continues to pray for her.
♥ A regular customer who comes in every day with her son recently asked for action figures. Our housewares department just happened to have put some out. Now, every time this customer’s son comes in, he asks if we have any wrestlers. We now save them for him! It is sweet to see the smile and thankfulness on his face. His mom told us that she tells her son, if he does good all week with his school work he can go to Hearts and pick a prize!
Remember, when you shop you are supporting our outreach to the homeless, poor and local community.
“Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter”
Lives Touched Last Month
Total Clients Served: 1,004
Meal Bags for Buffalo Dream Center Outreach: 400
Talk from the Street and Heart
During the winter, and while COVID was at its peak over the last year, Hearts began to see a drop in the number of people in our feeding lines. At first, we were wondering where the homeless were going to eat. But, then, we realized what was happening—the Downtown Library has always served as a safe haven for the homeless and was a warming center for them. When COVID came about, the library closed down leaving the homeless to find other places to go to stay warm and for that they missed the dinner hour that Hearts provided nightly outside the library. Also, The Restoration Society had set up several COVID shelters for the homeless which also provided food for them.
Well, guess who was providing those meals to the COVID Shelters? Yep! Hearts for the Homeless was providing hot meals to the shelters that were housing the very people who usually came down to the library to eat. So, in the end, we found out although it appeared our numbers went down in the library lines because all of the homeless weren’t physically at the library eating, they were at the shelters eating the food that we had prepared for and delivered to the shelters. This actually caused the numbers of those we have been feeding to go up!
In April, we had the honor to host several groups from local colleges in Buffalo. These students were fantastic! They always seemed to add a special burst of energy.
There were different teams throughout March and April from D’Youville College that came weekly to help with all the prep work that takes place to assist our Mobile Crews that not only distribute meals to the homeless and poor populations, but they also hand out clothing, toiletries, snacks, personal care bags, blankets and more. The student groups also did prep work to help our food pantry as well by stocking food shelves and sorting out expired foods.
Then, the UB School of Pharmacy group carried out their own clothing drive and also joined in with our Wednesday Mobile Crew and helped by scooping out the hot meal in prep for the evening’s meal distribution, and then handed out gift cards to Tim Hortons during the meal distribution that they had purchased. The people in the feeding line were so excited to receive the gift cards and also by the good feeling the students left them with.
Mobile Crew Volunteer Opportunity Saturdays, 4pm to 6pm.
Hearts Harvest Food Pantry
Some of our patrons of the food pantry have returned back to work, but still finding it helpful to supplement their income by utilizing Hearts Harvest Food Pantry.
Hearts Mobile Food Pantry is held every 1st Friday of the month from 1:30pm to 3:30pm behind DePaul Apartments at 238 Ontario St., Riverside. 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.
Hearts follows strict COVID regulations; please note that some of the photos in this newsletter were taken pre-COVID.