BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy on Buffalo’s East Side is there throughout the year helping families in need with a hot meal and clothing.
But this time of the year can be especially stressful for those who don’t have much to work with.
On Tuesday, the mission helped make a difference in the lives of families by holding a Christmas food giveaway.
“This is located on the East Side of Buffalo but you don’t have to live on the East Side to come here. So, the number of families that need food for this type of Christmas season continues to grow every year,” said Michael Taheri, an associate missionary volunteer with St. Luke’s.
“We will feed probably 27 hundred families. So, do the math on that. It’s probably over ten thousand people,” Taheri added.
The mission’s sanctuary was transformed into a food distribution center, as families waited in line for bags of food.
Among the volunteers on hand to help, Donald Erving, who fell on hard times 20 years ago, and came to St. Luke’s after becoming homeless.
Erving says the mission gave him the boost he needed to make his own way in life.
These days, he volunteers at the mission to give something back.
“They don’t drop you off here with a helicopter or a limousine. You got to have a story to get here,” Erving explained. “You got to be a little broken in yourself. You got to have some hard times. Something has to go on in your life to get you to end up at St. Luke’s.”
Serving those in need requires volunteers and money. Lots of money.
“I think you’re talking about overall between $90 and $100 thousand dollars to do both of these events; the Thanksgiving event and the Christmas event,” Taheri explained.
Former UB basketball players Rod Middleton and Tony Watson delivered toys to the mission.
Both men are partners in Pro Training, a basketball and fitness facility in Wheatfield.
Wanting to give back to the community, they recently held a toy drive and delivered the goods on Tuesday.
“For us to do our part is definitely helpful, “said Middleton.
“You always got to remember there’s always somebody out there who’s having a little tougher time than you are, and if you have anything extra that you can try to donate especially someone like the mission, it’s a beautiful thing,” said Watson.
St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy provides these critically important services thanks to donations and volunteers.
But Michael Taheri says the mission is already about $20 thousand dollars short of what’s needed to pay for the food giveaway.
For more information, you can visit the mission’s website.