BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- Director of The Response to Love Center, Sister Mary Johnice, wants to give out 300 stuffed canvas bags to adults and children in need this holiday season.
The bags will be stuffed with fresh towels and a bar of soap. For children, the bags will have cereal and a coloring book.
“The practicality of a gift is so, so important,” Sister Johnice told News 4.
All year the Center offers a food pantry, a thrift store, free education classes, and more.
“We used to do mass distributions of toys and food. And people would line up almost like a herd, and we’ve be giving out, giving out. But it has changed because now I don’t choose to do that.”
She says that’s because the toys and single meals don’t last.
For the past two years, the Response to Love Center has provided clients with practical items they can use more than once; last year, they hosted a pillow drive.
“A fresh towel, that’s going to be so great. But the canvas bag when they come to the food pantry, can be used during the year, especially in the winter when you have a plastic bag and a brown bag that gets wet,” Johnice said.
The center serves around 450 regular clients a month, and more than 20,000 people every year.
This year, staff is helping some unexpected clients.
“We had some people come in from Puerto Rico who lost everything,” Johnice told us.
More than 100 volunteers will be at the center this Thanksgiving to help prepare and handout a warm meal, but Sister Johnice hopes people remember basic needs like bedding, towels, and food, exist all year.
Below are some items the Response to Love Center needs:
- Canvas bags
- Bars of soap
- Canned foods
- Canned meals-to-go
- Gifts cards to: Tops, Walmart, Tim Hortons, Aldi, Wegman’s