Over the holiday weekend:
•The Buffalo City Mission held its annual “Turkey Express” event, delivering more than 4,500 turkey dinners to the poor and homeless across Western New York. This event marked the first time the event was held at one central location – the new Alfiero Family Center of Hope and Promise. Additionally, this “Turkey Express” was the first such event to be held in person in the past five years.
“During the holidays, everyone deserves to feel cared for and thought of. Our volunteer family brings this holiday spirit to our neighbors in need, showcasing our community’s love and warming spirits with a hearty meal,” said Aubrey Calhoun, executive director of the Buffalo City Mission. “Thank you to everyone who gave the gift of their time and made this year’s event truly special.”
The “Turkey Express” began early on Thanksgiving morning. Volunteers loaded their vehicles with fresh holiday dinners that included hot turkey and all the fixings. From there, the meals were delivered by 176 delivery teams to more than 950 impoverished families, shut-ins and elderly neighbors across Western New York. Destinations ranged from the City of Buffalo, Lockport through to Angola.
“Helping those in need is not the task of one, but the responsibility of many – today and every day,” Calhoun said. “Those who attended this year’s successful ‘Turkey Express’ recognized this, and in doing so, showcased the compassion, selflessness and holiday spirit the City of Good Neighbors is known for.”
Previous years’ “Turkey Express” events were held across multiple locations throughout Buffalo, Amherst and Cheektowaga. These events abided by strict COVID-19 regulations.
•Niagara Gospel Mission, at 1317 Portage Road, “had a busy Thanksgiving eve and Thanksgiving day, preparing and handing out over 1,200 prepackaged Thanksgiving meals to people in need in the City of Niagara Falls,” organizers said.
Around 100 volunteers showed up and were assigned different roles for the “Feed the Falls” event. On Wednesday night, volunteers cut pies and packaged rolls, while children colored the bags where the food would be packaged for families. On Thanksgiving morning, more volunteers came in starting at 7 a.m. to warm up the turkeys, corn, gravy, stuffing and mashed potatoes. After the meals were prepared, another group of volunteers came in to drive the meals to families who had called ahead and asked for a meal.
The Niagara Gospel Mission also packaged individual meals for the Niagara Falls Police and Fire departments, along with security forces at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, which, organizers said, had “people on duty away from their families on Thanksgiving Day keeping us safe.”
Director of Development John Cooper Jr. said, “In Niagara Falls, one thing we do not lack is love for our neighbors. I was always taught that hard work and giving back to those in need was part of life here in this city, and I’m glad to see that that hasn’t changed.”
Visit niagaragospemission.org to learn more about current services, and plans to develop services for homeless women.