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On Our Hearts - How We Have Grown

Below are photos of our volunteers in action along with those we serve. (Please note these photos are pre-COVID and no masks are being worn).

It seems that fall approached as suddenly as flipping a switch. The heat has turned into cooler temperatures. Hearts has been preparing for the fall and winter season as it is our busiest season of the year since many holidays are mixed into it. We are so grateful for our staff as well as the many volunteers who sacrificially give their time and talents to help the outreach at Hearts for the Homeless succeed.

Nourishing the Community with Dignified Service.
Nourishing the Community with Dignified Service.

If you have called our office lately, along with a new phone system, you will have noticed a new voice and name come through on our end. Catherine Edgerton is Hearts’ administrative assistant who began her employment with us as a volunteer in our thrift shop sorting department back in 2018. She has many talents, a very caring and lovely personality, and assists in several of our departments and outreach areas. Recently, she was able to help a homeless man find shelter and we wanted to share her praise report!

Catherine spoke with a man who was looking for a shelter. Hearts receives many calls from homeless individuals who are looking for somewhere to stay. She explained to him that Hearts doesn’t operate a shelter, but offered to look up some phone numbers for him. When she got off the phone, she prayed for him as she regularly does after a call comes through. We don’t often hear back in these cases, but a little while later, he called back to say thank you and to let her know that he was able to find a bed! Catherine was touched by his effort to call back and wanted to share his story that resulted in getting “one more person off the streets, at least for a little while.”

And, the very place this man was able to find a bed to lay his head, has become another agency that Hearts will be providing meals for. We just formed a partnership and agreement with the Little Portion Friary to provide sandwiches and hot meals starting October 13th. We will provide sandwiches and hot meals for them 7 days a week. We will also continue to provide for the homeless guests at the Harbor House 7 days a week.

Volunteers make sandwiches for the homeless and poor.
Volunteers make sandwiches for the homeless and poor.

Once Code Blue goes into effect in November, Hearts will also provide meals for the chronic homeless as they seek out shelter and help from the Code Blue Collaboration, which Hearts is very excited to be partnering with again this year. This initiative helps to keep the chronic homeless, or anyone in need of shelter, from having to sleep outside when the temperature goes below 32º and to get them inside.

Hearts has come a long way since we first started in 1990! You can explore our timeline and history of how we got to where we are with the help of our supporters and volunteers. Go to our website and browse year by year how we made it to 2020!

www.heartsforthehomeless.org/history

Crew member, Kirsten, gets the meal bags ready for hand out.
Crew member, Kirsten, gets the meal bags ready for hand out.

As Hearts continues to grow, we look forward to sharing each new step, progression, and even anecdotes and praise reports like the one below:

Catherine was excited to receive another phone call recently, this call was from a donor. Here is Catherine’s account of it. “I received a call this morning from a woman who just wanted to praise Hearts for what we’re doing to serve the community. She said she’s donated for years in our clothing bins. Yesterday, she was downtown and happened to run across the Hearts Mobile Soup Kitchen bus and was just overjoyed to see the people being served and loved on. I told her we work as a team and do as much as we can to help the people who come to us with needs.”

Our street friends look for warm blankets to wrap up in and sleep on.
Our street friends look for warm blankets to wrap up in and sleep on.

“She asked what else she could do to help aside from donating clothes and such. She said, she doesn’t have a lot of money; but, it’s on her heart to help out as much as she can. She said she’s constantly telling her friends and spreading the word about us. She asked about donating food, so I gave her some items on our current needs list. It was just a wonderful thing to hear, so I wanted to share with you.”

If you have a story that you would like to share about Hearts, we welcome you to email it to us at
office@heartsforthehomeless.org because it sure means a lot for our staff and volunteers to see the impact they are making.

A line of hungry people depend on Hearts to come and bring an evening meal, clothing and supplies.

Thrift Shop News

Customers continue to be so gracious about telling us how pleased they are that Hearts Thrift Store is open.  
 
Hearts Thrift Shop continues to reach those in need:
♥ In September, we were are able to give fall/winter coats to local women in need at no cost to them.
♥ We’ve helped several people who had needs for clothing, coats, and boots, but could not afford to pay for them.
♥ There was also a woman who was homeless and moving into an apartment and needed household items that we were able to give her.
 
All those we have assisted are so thankful and happy for the help we have given them. The thrift shop staff encounter people from all walks of life every day and this month we’ve had opportunities to share about Jesus.
“…the Lord is peace.…”  Judges 6:24
 
Remember, when you shop you are supporting our outreach to the homeless, poor and local community. 

Lives Touched Last Month

volunteer handing out bag with food

September 2020

Total Clients Served: 1,353
Homeless: 793
Male: 1,120
Female: 209
Seniors: 40
Children: 24
Meal Bags for Buffalo Dream Center Outreach: 400
Total Volunteer Hours: 183

Talk from the Street and Heart

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’…your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” Matthew 6:31-32

End of the food line for the evening, clients received bag packs with  essentials inside.
End of the food line for the evening, clients received bag packs with essentials inside.

Hearts is so glad to be the hands and feet of the Lord by providing food, clothing and other items for our poor and homeless friends. It is a great encouragement to all those who we serve at the library downtown; they can depend on us to offer whatever supplies we have to give, made available by your generous donations.

Tuesday Crew Member, Tess, handing out meal bags.
Tuesday Crew Member, Tess, handing out meal bags.
Trusting and depending on Hearts to come, a line is formed at the downtown library with the homeless and poor waiting for their evening meal.
Trusting and depending on Hearts to come, a line is formed at the downtown library with the homeless and poor waiting for their evening meal.
Friday Team Leader, Rick, getting ready to hand off socks and snacks to those in line.
Friday Team Leader, Rick, getting ready to hand off socks and snacks to those in line.
Tuesday Crew Member, Brian, is passionate about making sure everyone in need of clothing and accessories gets what they need.
Tuesday Crew Member, Brian, is passionate about making sure everyone in need of clothing and accessories gets what they need.
Thursday Team Leader, John, enjoys handing out the meal bag and giving words of encouragement to those in line.
Thursday Team Leader, John, enjoys handing out the meal bag and giving words of encouragement to those in line.
Team Leader, Steve, gives prayers and kind words to those in the feeding line.
Team Leader, Steve, gives prayers and kind words to those in the feeding line.

Hearts Harvest Food Pantry

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.

Groceries prepped for hand out to local families. 
Groceries prepped for hand out to local families. 
In September, Hearts Harvest Food Pantry Served 16,938 Meals.
HouseholdsInfantsToddlersChildrenAdultsSeniorsIndividuals
56134934411,003531,624
Serving the local community at Hearts Harvest Food Pantry
Serving the local community at Hearts Harvest Food Pantry

Hearts holds a Mobile Food Pantry every 1st Friday of the month behind DePaul Apartments at 238 Ontario St., Riverside. The community can come as often as we have them as a supplement to our onsite food pantry. It’s a special time for them and the fresh produce, dairy, and other quality food is a blessing for them. They leave happy and appreciative.

There's always fresh produce at the Mobile Food Pantry.
There's always fresh produce at the Mobile Food Pantry.
In September, Hearts Mobile Food Pantry Served 216 Individuals.
HouseholdsInfantsToddlersChildrenAdultsSeniorsIndividuals
915135211036216
 We are always happy to serve.
 We are always happy to serve.
Thank you vendor partner, Wegmans, for supplying bread and baked goods for our community in 14207.
Thank you vendor partner, Wegmans, for supplying bread and baked goods for our community in 14207.
IMMEDIATE FOOD NEEDS HOMELESS OUTREACH CANNED BEEF STEW, CHILI CANNED CORN, CARROTS, KIDNEY BEANS We cannot accept expired food or opened containers!

In keeping our shelves 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;
office@heartsforthehomeless.org,
or go to our website at www.heartsforthehomeless.org

Clothing Donations

Hearts for the Homeless donation bin

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.

If you would like to download a printable pdf, please click here:
Nourishing the community through dignified service. The official monthly newsletter of Hearts for the Homeless of WNY, Inc.