Heart, Love & Soul in Niagara Falls marked 40 years of serving those in need with a grand-opening of its new community garden and mural on June 8.
The nonprofit group said in its news release “the new garden serves as a symbol of growth, healing and empowerment, offering a tranquil and nurturing space for individuals to find solace, engage in therapeutic activities and learn about sustainable gardening practices.”
The therapeutic garden was completed just days before its grand-opening in front of a crowd of officials, dignitaries, and the staff that provides the heart of the services.
Among the speakers at the event were Heart, Love & Soul Executive Director Mark Baetzhold, Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino, Niagara University President the Rev. James J. Maher and Sister Beth Brosmer, who retired in 2020 after serving for 11 years as executive director.
The colorful mural that wraps around the building in the north end of Niagara Falls is intended as an artistic expression of the agency’s mission to bring hope and support to the people it serves.
Heart, Love & Soul provides a food pantry, daily hot meals, groceries, social care services and housing and outreach services.
Baetzhold said the organization’s mission to nourish people in need has touched thousands of lives since its founding in 1983.
“We are indebted to our founders who grew the organization from its infancy at Sacred Heart Church, to the Sisters of St. Francis who guided the ministry for two decades, and to all the faithful volunteers and supporters who helped grow Heart Love & Soul into what it is today,” he said. “We look forward to continuing to serve the community in new ways, but with the same spirit of love and welcome that has guided Heart, Love & Soul from its very beginning,”
He noted that since its start, Heart, Love & Soul has expanded services and staff to carry out its mission of help and support.
One of the new ways that Heart, Love & Soul serves the community is through the Daybreak program in the Sr. Beth Brosmer Center that opened in October 2020. The building is named after the longtime leader and houses a social care program offering a single point of access for housing, health and wellness, behavioral health, employment, education, legal and other services.
“In only its first two years, we have served more than 700 unique individuals, making an impact,” Baetzhold said.
He added that the organization has strived to welcome all its guests with dignity and respect.
“As we celebrate 40 years of touching the community, we commit to continuing a legacy of service, trusting that every person touched by our work is moving toward a future of promise and hope,” Baetzhold said.
Congressman Brian Higgins said of Heart, Love & Soul, “The name says it all. For an incredible 40 years, this organization has put heart, love and soul into serving the people of this community. Through this mission, led with compassion and intention, people’s lives have been forever changed for the better.”
For more information about Heart, Love & Soul, visit www.heartloveandsoul.org.
Senior Contributing Writer Karen Carr Keefe contributed to this report.