BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo Irish Center now needs your help to stay open. It’s out thousands of dollars after someone broke into the building and stole the office safe. Leaders at the center say thieves got away with more than just money.
“Quite a blow to the center especially starting the new year off this way,” said Mary Heneghan, chairman of the Buffalo Irish Center.
It hasn’t been a happy new year for Mary Heneghan and members at the Buffalo Irish Center. Although business seems to be running as usual, she says it’s been tough to keep the doors open.
“We struggle to keep it going. It’s a very small heritage center. It’s a non-profit building,” said Heneghan.
Heneghan says now it’s even more of a struggle, after police say thieves broke into the center and stole a safe and lockbox from the office early Saturday. The safe and lockbox had money inside — a total of at least $5,000.
“To have a small heritage center that’s run by volunteers targeted, it’s heartbreaking,” said Heneghan.
What’s even more heartbreaking, Heneghan says, is that the thieves got away with pieces of history. She says documents and pictures were also in the safe.
“Program books when the building opened, when it had its 25th anniversary all of those are gone now. We lost quite a bit of funds, historical documents pictures of the building from early years that can’t be replaced,” said Heneghan.
Heneghan says people depend on the center to keep the Irish heritage and history alive.
“We depend on community support to make it function,” said Heneghan.
That’s why members created a GoFundMe page to help save the center. Heneghan says she’s determined.
“People who founded this building were immigrants and they put their heart and soul into it and you feel like someone’s trying to stop their vision. Well that’s not going to happen no matter how much we struggle this building will continue,” said Heneghan.
Heneghan says she’s thankful for the community’s support. She says an author who has a book signing at the center later this month will donate part of her proceeds to the center.
Heneghan says the center is upgrading its security by installing new steel doors. To donate to the Irish center click here.