Hearts for the Homeless is growing, and our mission won’t stop. The bigger we become, the stronger our collective heartbeat, the more it resonates in the community. One thing that Nick and Ron are very excited about is the vision of a new food pantry, adjacent to our existing ministry building on Tonawanda Street in Riverside Buffalo. Check out the audio snipped above to hear the vision directly from our leaders, Ron and Nick Calandra.
Our organization wouldn’t be anywhere without a forward vision. Everything we do is built on the vision of our team, and the real life experiences we’ve seen and felt along the way. The heartbeat never stops, and we continue to strive to find new ways that we can build on what we’ve done, and continue to help those in need, here in Buffalo and elsewhere.
One thing we’re very excited about is the concept of a different type of food pantry in Buffalo. We have had property on Tonawanda street for several years, and we recently were able to purchase a building adjacent to our existing ministry, and we plan to transform this space into a community food pantry of tomorrow.
Importance of a Family Meal
Individuals in our own WNY community are homeless. We utilize our mobile soup kithen to feed as many as we can. There are also a large amount of people who are one hot water tank away, or a grocery bill away from losing their home.
When you’re at risk of economic failure, the world becomes a very dark place. Something as simple as a fresh family meal is something that many of us take for granted. The goal of this facility will be to provide fresh foods and ingredients to provide for free, based on income requirements instituted by government funding.
A High Level of Dignity
It can be embarrassing when you’ve reached a level of struggle that requires you to visit a food pantry to feed yourself and/or your family. This place will not be your typical idea of a soup kitchen. We want to create a bright space to visit and feel good about. Why shouldn’t people struggling financially, or worse, without a warm place to sleep, have to suffer any further than what they’re going through? This place will be a happy place. This is a community center. This is a safe space to come and interact and receive fresh foods and a helping hand along your journey.
We plan to offer more than non-perishable goods. With the help of the Food Bank of WNY, we will offer the traditional items you may find at a soup kitchen, but we also will be purchasing fresh foods that may not be available. We have the resources to be able to reach out to local farms, purchase foods in bulk from local companies, and we plan to bring these fresh ingredients to our food pantry.
Meal Prep & Financial Lessons
A couple ideas we’ve had on proactively approaching the struggle is to enable this place to also serve as a community center that will provide free teachings and lessons on things that they don’t teach you in school. We plan to encourage and invite local chefs from around Buffalo to help families and individuals understand the value of meal planning, and nutritional habits. Along with the nutritional side, we plan on partnering with M&T Bank to help people learn financial literacy, and help with bank accounts and financial responsibility. Again, when you’re just a few dollars away from losing your housing status, these things can truly save lives.
Among some of the other ideas we’ve been kicking around, are offering healthy frozen yogurt, as well as featuring a coffee shop where you can come relax and enjoy a free cup of coffee. These efforts are all based on the collective heartbeat that you can help by simply donating old clothing.
For more information on the future Hearts for the Homeless Community Center Food Pantry, just give us a call or fill out our contact form and we can get back to you! Stay tuned to HeartsBeat for more about what we’re up to, how you can help, and feel good stories of triumph!