So often in Buffalo it is the grassroots community activists that tend to pull off the biggest success stories. We see it all the time - people taking the time to go out into the community to fix up an area of the city, and often times the area in question is nowhere near where the activists live. Last week, church and ministry volunteers aligned with Community Action Project decided to literally "Take It To The Streets" in order to get a slew of projects done in Buffalo. The members showed what civic empowerment can do in a city, one community at a time.
In essence, people see urban blight from time to time, yet how many of us are determined to do anything about it? Whether it's planting a garden, picking up garbage or helping to fix up a house, there are important fixes that can be made right here and now.
Community Action Project's initiative, headquartered at 184 Barton Street in Buffalo, allows community members to get involved in projects that are aimed at empowering neighborhoods. "Our team went to Riverside and picked 30 projects to fix up people's homes that were basically falling apart and our goal was to complete all of them during the Monday to Saturday time frame last week," said volunteer Brendan McKirchy. "At noon Friday we finished all of the massive projects. Our team then went on to fix up many other additional things in the neighborhood as we saw the need."
Riverside is not the only neighborhood that has received some Buffalo love. The plan is to deliver these types of relief effort to a number of neighborhoods in Buffalo. "The Franklin Graham Association is holding a crusade in Buffalo at the Bison Stadium on Sept. 22-23," Brendan told me. "A month before the crusade we [decided to] show some tangible love on the city. For a whole week the church in Buffalo fixed up a West Side neighborhood where we completed roughly 50 projects. So many of our projects that we did had stories that were heart breaking or deserving stories to receive our help. Sadly we had to turn many away."
Those that did not get turned away have seen the fruits of the labor pay off. Efforts to date are said to be bigger than the Extreme Makeover Buffalo results, and just as deserving of recognition.
Photos: "This little guy is August. He is so excited that he is finally going to have a front porch to sit on and play on. He said, "This is where I will be able to Walk up instead of JUMP!" - Brendan McKirchy