Everything we do for the community is inspired by years of dedication and knowing how big a difference basic needs can mean for someone who needs a hand. Being homeless isn’t easy for anyone, regardless of where they’re from or how they got there. Often times these individuals become forgotten, broken members of society who are frowned upon and left behind. Since 1990, our goal as an organization has always been to help the less fortunate and provide inspiration. Our Mobile Soup Kitchen has always been a big part of what we do, so for this edition of HeartsBeat, we wanted to dig a little deeper into what we do beyond provide meals.
Years of Dedication
For over 25 years we have aimed to provide nutritious meals to the homeless community of Western New York. Our shuttle provides prepared meals every Tuesday through Saturday. Every week of the year, we are out 5 nights a week with 5 dedicated volunteer Mobile Crew teams that serve our community. Living in Western New York, this means many of the 52 weeks are under difficult conditions with a lengthened cold season. During the winter months, weather can become extremely cold, so homelessness unfortunately delves into a survival challenge. Providing a warm meal, as well as other donated resources can really help people living on the street.
More Than Just Food
Eating nutritiously is a major part of mental stability when trying to survive a life on the street. Weather conditions are another factor, that some of us may not even consider. It’s easy to think about how it’s difficult for us to get from our home to our car, or to grab milk from the store, or drive into work when it’s cold and snowy, but what if you had to live in it?
With all of the clothes in your closet accessible, you probably still don’t want to go out in that cold. Imagine being stuck out there without boots. Imagine being stuck out there without any gloves, or even a hat to keep warm. This is why we also bring out donated items like coats, hats, gloves, and boots to the community via our Mobile Soup Kitchen. These people need your donations, just to be able to survive through cold temperatures.
Many times, when we spend time seeing individuals from day to day, we’re able to establish a relationship with them that allows us to help at a deeper level.
Comfort & Encouragement, From Experience
Though these individuals may not know it at first glance, our leadership has been where they have been. The Hearts for the Homeless concept, is based on trying to help people who were in the same position as Ron, one of our founders. He touches on how being in their shoes isn’t always something they see initially, but provides a very special connection once they’re able to hear about where Ron’s come from.
“It’s a good meeting point on the street, when the guys tell me, ‘You don’t know what it’s like,’ and I’m like, ‘Well, actually I do.’ They look at us, we’re successful, we’re clean, but they don’t know all the struggles that we’ve had.
Then after meeting them night after night, you get to know them, and then they start asking questions, and you’re able to share their story with them. A lot of times it encourages them. They see they can change their life also.”
For more information on our Mobile Soup Kitchen, how you can volunteer or contribute, just give us a call or reach out via our contact form. If you’d like to find a location where you can donate boots, winter coats, gloves, hats, or anything else, you can locate a donation bin right here on our website! If you or someone you know has a good amount of old winter clothing laying around, please think of Hearts for the Homeless. You can receive a receipt for any charitable donation here on our site as well!