Due to the extraordinary need in the community caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Rotary Club of Buffalo will provide much-needed aid to six local organizations that have been challenged to provide assistance to people in need of basic food and supplies.
The local service club has supported community organizations throughout Western New York, financially and through volunteering, for over 100 years. Leaders of the 100-member club and its foundation decided immediate aid was urgently needed due to the unprecedented circumstances and hardship created by this continuing crisis.
Gifts totally $50,000 are being distributed locally to FeedMore WNY, which will receive $25,000; and in addition, $5,000 will be donated to five organizations: Friends of the Night People, Compass House, St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy, Harvest House and Buffalo Prenatal-Perinatal Network.
The funds will be presented to all organizations on Tuesday.
In a joint statement, Mike Sendor, president of the Buffalo Rotary Foundation, and Carolyn Murray, the club’s current president, said, “As a second wave of COVID-19 hit has Western New York, our community is still reeling from the initial effects of this terrible pandemic.
“Small businesses, restaurants, nonprofits, and their employees are suffering financial hardships unheard of since the Great Depression. Even some of our largest local corporations are facing difficulties. With unemployment rising, many people are unable to feed their families or afford necessities. And those on the margins, like the homeless, are hurting the most.
“The Rotary Club of Buffalo and its foundation, Buffalo Rotary Foundation Inc., chose to donate to these six local organizations, which will have immediate impact on those in our community in need.”
These donations from the Buffalo Rotary Foundation are in addition to more than $20,000 donated last April to FeedMore WNY and WNY Feeds the Front lines.
“FeedMore WNY is incredibly grateful to the Buffalo Rotary Foundation Inc. and the Rotary Club of Buffalo for this generous donation,” said Lisa Woodring, chief development officer for FeedMore WNY. “While hunger always has been a problem in Western New York, the pandemic has greatly exacerbated the need for food assistance in the community. In 2020, FeedMore WNY distributed enough food to provide nearly 16 million meals to those in need – approximately 4 million meals more than 2019. Thanks to partners like the Rotary Club, FeedMore WNY is able to continue our mission and help ensure that hungry children, families, veterans and older adults in our community receive the nutritious food and support they need.”
Compass House Executive Director Lisa Freeman said, “Compass House’s mission is to provide runaway, homeless and street youth with safe shelter and services, through a voluntary and mutually agreed upon process, in an environment that supports dignity, respect and self-reliance. We are very excited to receive this award from the Rotary Club of Buffalo. Their whole goal is to make our community a better place to live, as is evident with this donation to some of the most vulnerable people in our area. We appreciate the support they continue to give to Compass House and the runaway and homeless youth that we serve.”
Friends of Night People Executive Director Joseph S. Heary said, “Friends of Night People provide food and necessities to address the effects and impact of poverty. These funds will help use purchase fresh dairy and produce, personal hygiene product, and other supplies to help meet the changing needs individuals are facing during the current crisis. We are so thankful to the Buffalo Rotary for this gift.”
St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy co-founder and Director Amy Betros said, “St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy cannot thank the Rotary Club of Buffalo enough for this incredibly generous donation. Your gift will help offset the cost of providing meals to those experiencing food security issues. Our cost of supplying food has increased 300%, between an increased demand for food and packaging cost needed to maintain proper safety protocols.
“We are currently providing 8,500 meals per week as well as servicing 250 families each week from our food pantry. We continue to provide all services at no cost, with no income requirements. We receive no government money or support from the diocese. We continue to rely on generous organizations such as yours and the good people of Western New York. Once again thank you for your generosity.”
Harvest House Ministries President Carol Murphy said, “This is just one story to illustrate how important gifts – such as what we’ve just received from Buffalo Rotary – help us make a difference for families in our community.”
LuAnne Brown, RN, CEO of Buffalo Prenatal Perinatal Network, said, “Buffalo Prenatal Perinatal Network is appreciative of this wonderful gift from the Buffalo Rotary Foundation to our agency. We continue with our long-standing goals of assisting our clients with parenting needs, prevention of child abuse and neglect, support of fathers, and ensuring women are all connected to health services to ensure a healthy life for them and their children. However, as COVID has shown all of us, the needs of our clients have increased the last 10 months and we have found a greater need for basics like housing for our clients, many who are homeless. We plan on using the funds for the purchase of beds and appliances for our families. It is very difficult to think about future goals in your life when you are not sure where you will lay your head that night or whether you have food to feed your children. This gift will help provide this security for our families.”
Beth Dudek said, “When my son, Vincent, was born, he was really sick and spent his first days in the NICU at Children’s. It was a traumatic time. I didn’t have everything I needed and, with medical bills piling up, I didn’t know what to do. I was referred to the Harvest House Baby & Children’s Ministry where I got everything I needed. They were so helpful and it was a relief to be prepared when Vincent finally came home.”
The Rotary Club of Buffalo is where neighbors, friends and problem-solvers share ideas, join leaders, and take action to create lasting change. Founded in 1911, the Rotary Club of Buffalo’s members have used real commitment and vision to make Western New York a better place to live. Since 1989, the club’s foundation has awarded grants totaling more than $2 million to Buffalo Niagara community organizations. For more information, visit www.buffalonyrotary.org.