We’ve all seen what holiday decorations can do for a neighborhood. The twinkling lights and the decorated trees bring warmth and comfort to communities, as well as a sense of unity. In recent years, block clubs on the West Side have organized a community Festival of Lights, which is more apparent with every season. At the same time, business owners on Elmwood Avenue rally around the holidays, bringing us brilliant festive displays that work toward attracting shoppers and strollers. Even downtown Main Street is alive with nostalgic holiday displays for the second season in a row. These neighborhoods are fortunate to either be stable or on the upswing, meaning that they have the ability to draw upon home owners, organizations and businesses to create a joyous mood.
But what about the neighborhoods that are struggling to hold things together? Communities such as Riverside are doing all they can to create a similar sense of pride, as seen with the creation of garden walks and historic tours. During the holidays, homeowners may want to decorate their homes, adding to the vibrancy, but many can’t afford to as paying higher utilities in winter becomes more of a priority.
That’s where B Team Buffalo comes in. The community service organization is spending the entire day decorating 50 homes in the Riverside area as part of the City of Light Project. 100 volunteers have come together for the fourth year in a row to string donated lights on houses. Then, as if that isn’t enough B Team Buffalo is hosting a Winter Carnival for the neighborhood kids, and a ceremonial tree lighting (5pm) is being hosted at the Riverside United Methodist Church, 179 Ontario Street. It is initiatives like this that make me proud to be a part of a growing movement of people who are doing all that they can to rally behind Buffalo.