On Our Hearts
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
It has been quite a season that we’ve all been drawn into. It feels much too long to be stuck in it; everyone seems to be striving hard to get back to life as it once was. But the air still feels thick as talk of a new variant comes in. So, what are we to believe? Everyone has their own idea or opinion about it and we are faced with new choices.
America gives us the freedom to choose and think for ourselves, even if that means we may not agree with our neighbor. But, let this not tear us apart or stir up bad blood with each other. We can be the beacon for those who need us, for even the poor and destitute have choices to make and need our help.
Like the Lepers in Biblical times, the homeless were prejudged from the onset. Many people expressed their fear that anyone homeless must be infected with COVID. But you can be proud, Buffalo, COVID shelters were opened up and were made COVID-19 safe. Anyone symptomatic or COVID-19 positive was not allowed in, but they also were not turned away.
They were either sent to the hospital or quarantined in individual housing or at a hotel. The Restoration Society of Buffalo spearheaded this program and because they did, there were no COVID-19 outbreaks. Communities statewide and across the country modeled their homeless response off Buffalo’s success. The Code Blue Collaborative, that we usually lean on during frigid temps in winter, provided shelter for about 110 people 24/7 through the worst of the pandemic. https://www.wivb.com/news/local-news/buffalos-homeless-response-modeled-across-new-york-state/; Jean Bennett, The Restoration Society.
Hearts reached out with food and clothing distributions; did our part to sanitize along with handing out masks and sanitizer to those standing in our food lines; and we never had to close our programs during the pandemic. We also took every opportunity to help other agencies that had homeless mouths to feed.
As we head into the fall season, the favored time of year for food for the homeless because they receive hot meals of beef stew, chili, pasta & meatballs and more, let us not discard the needs of the lowly, but provide dignified service and nourishment to them.
In addition to food and clothing, share with them the word of God, pray with them, and direct their path to the One who can provide new life.
“Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” James 2:5
Hearts Thrift Shop News
♥ A Team Effort – It was not the first time Hearts staff had to make a team effort to help someone in need, but over the past month the need arose several times to help homeless individuals who came in through the thrift shop. One was a man who was in need of boots for work.
He was grateful he had a job, but he only had a little cash on him. The thrift shop, homeless outreach, and food pantry came together to give of their resources. This man received boots and a hoodie from the thrift shop, sandwiches, drink, and dessert from the kitchen, and additional food from Hearts Harvest Food Pantry. The thrift store supervisor asked him if she could pray with him. Although he was rushing off to work and a ride was outside waiting, he left with a prayer to hold on to. For all of us at Hearts, we are encouraged to be able to come together as a team to help anyone in need. Give thanks to the Lord for He is good His love endures forever. Psalm 106:7
♥ Tongue in Cheek: Be careful what you pray for says Janis in Hearts Thrift Store. We were low on socks and underwear, I prayed, and now we are overflowing. These items are very sought after by our customers. Our homeless are always asking for them too.
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.
Your donations begin a journey here after you drop them in a red bin. This is the sorting department at Hearts. It is decided here where your clothing items will end up – thrift shop, free to the homeless, or to be recycled.
Hearts Mobile Soup Kitchen
Lives Touched Last Month
“Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter”
Total Clients Served: 630
Meal Bags for Buffalo Dream Center Outreach: 400
Talk from the Street and Heart
We received many phone calls from homeless people last month hoping that Hearts could bring specific sizes in clothing, shoes & sneakers to the library downtown during our meal distribution. They also needed blankets and sleeping gear. We were able to give them just about everything they asked for; boots and sneaker sizes, however, were more difficult to find.
We also had more than usual homeless people walking into our thrift store desperate for food, shelter, clothing, and help to obtain these things. Hearts handed out resource sheets listing shelters and helpful info, gave each person sandwiches and other food items to get them through a few days until they found shelter, and they also picked out clothing from the thrift shop.
Thank you for helping us keep the homeless hydrated throughout the summer! A special thank you to Harris Hill UMC for your generosity. Hearts has more than enough water to continue giving the homeless bottled water throughout the fall. They will love having the extra beverage.
Current Needs For Homeless Meals:
Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, Canned Potatoes & Beef Stew.
Bring to Hearts at 890 Tonawanda St., Riverside Avenue, side of building.
Ring bell at kitchen door.
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.
The last 2 months, the Mobile Food Pantry had long lines of people to serve. They received eggs, cheddar cheese, salad greens, natural almonds, ranch chip dip, a box of local produce and more, made possible by FeedMore WNY and Desiderio’s. These items are such a nice addition to what they receive from our Hearts Harvest Food Pantry.
Hearts Mobile Food Pantry is held every 4th Wednesday of the month at Hearts Outreach Center at 890 Tonawanda St., Riverside, from 1pm to 3pm (sign-in at 12:30pm). Families in our community can come as often as we have them as a supplement to our onsite food pantry.
**** Some of these photos are pre-Covid