I must admit that when it comes to Boy Scout rituals, I am a bit in the dark. That’s why, when a friend of mine told me about his son’s unique efforts to earn his Eagle Badge, I was rather impressed. You see, most Boy Scouts earn this ultimate merit badge by building or constructing a tangible object – a small bridge, a playground structure, etc. The idea is to build something that will benefit a community, or a neighborhood. My friend’s son, Christian Hamilton, a sophomore at Canisius, decided that he wanted to go a different route.
Ever since moving to Buffalo, Richard Hamilton (owner of Deep South Taco) has been involved with the Greek Orthodox Church, despite not being Greek himself. Richard moved to Buffalo solo, to settle in before bringing his family along. His first Thanksgiving in Buffalo, Richard decided that he would offer his cooking services, and prepared meals for the homeless at the church (corner of Delaware and Utica). The following year, once the family had settled in, he decided that the entire Hamilton household would follow suit, and a family tradition was born. Christian, Richard’s son, was so touched by the experience, that he ended up working on the church’s food program, twice a week, for three years straight.
When it came time to formulate a project to earn his Boy Scout Eagle Badge, Christian decided that he wanted to provide 200 to 250 meals for the homeless at the church. Despite the good nature of the plan, the Boy Scouts felt that there should be more longevity involved with the project. That’s when Christian came up with the idea to help the church source better food, at better prices, by using some of his dad’s wholesale culinary connections. He felt that if he could figure out a way to introduce the church to new purveyors, he might be able to solve the issue of ‘longevity’.
Traditionally, the Greek church does not ask for help – it’s part of the base philosophy. That’s why each year, they host a giant three-day Greek festival to raise funds for their initiatives. Christian felt that if he could augment the work that was already underway, he would be able to help feed more homeless, thus amplifying the mission. The plan apparently struck a chord, and is now being rolled out.
This coming Saturday, June 25, Deep South Taco will be funding the initial roll out of the plan, to help give the program a boost. Deep South will be fronting the funds for all of the meals on Saturday. After the initial funding effort, the program will be looking for donations that will enable the church to serve free Saturday lunches to those in need. To start, the meals will be served every other Saturday, but in the perfect world that would transition to a weekly occurrence.
“The first part of the plan is to feed as many as 200 homeless,” says Christian. “We will be serving a meal that consists of grilled beef and chicken fajitas, black beans, Spanish rice, bottled water and other bottled beverages and a dessert selection. The second part will be providing short and long term support to the organization so that they can continue their outreach of feeding the homeless. To assist in this area we are looking for cash donations, a possible continual supply line of supplies or foods, an introduction to others who may be able to support them in short and long term donations to stock the pantry for a year at minimum. The needs include plates, napkins, cups, eating utensils, foil pans, sterno, plastic wrap, foil and other various preparing needs. Support on this part can come in the form of dollars or donations of ingredients or the paper goods we require.
“Your assistance in any or all of these areas is vital to the project’s success. This project hopes to not only solve a short term problem of feeding the hungry and needy but continue on as a living breathing project that is evergreen. No effort on your part is too small in achieving this goal.
“In the event that you choose to make a cash donation, please make all checks payable to: Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation. Their certificate number is: EX-110-167. In the event you choose to mail a donation, their mailing address is 147 W. Utica St. Buffalo NY 14222-2085. Please copy me (christianhamilton337@gmail) on all donations and submissions as I need to account to them for credits toward my project/badge.”