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St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy mission is Really Merciful

Author: Mark Lazzara

It was that 15 degree below zero wind chill morning, a week or so ago, that Amy Betros, Co-Director of Saint Luke’s Mission of Mercy was standing out in the extreme cold excited to provide so many of Buffalo’s neediest families with Christmas groceries.

When I walked into Saint Luke’s on that particular winter morning, three volunteers offered me a ticket to get food, without question.  I felt peculiarly accepted – it didn’t appear to matter where I came from, and if I wanted help I was going to get it!

“Everyone is welcome and able to get help, I pray I have enough by God’s Grace,” said Amy Betros. “We do not receive money from the government or the Catholic diocese, the ministry depends totally on donations.” While talking to her, she was interrupted by a volunteer, who was then directed to give a woman extra food for her mother.

St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy mission is really merciful. I didn’t need any food that day, Thank God. I’ve known Amy for a long, long time. Since the first day I met her, I was aware that she lives out the mission of mercy, grace, tolerance and acceptance that she professes. One of the first times I heard her speak was at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Orchard Park. She recounted a tale of having everything she owned, stolen, including her underwear, then immediately forgave those that wronged her! I might not have had that positive attitude.

That attitude prevailed in every person that was serving at the giveaway. They all displayed a strong spirit of service, each with the heart of a person that would rather give then receive. Different than most food give distributions to the needy, no jumping through any hoops. No one said: Where is your ID? You just get in line. How many children do you have at home? Your mother has to be here to get food! The volunteers were apparently prepared to express unconditional love. It was really quite an incredible experience.

Amy Betros – Left
Photo: Aisles of food  @ St. Luke’s

I was somewhat reacquainted with Amy Betros on November 26th, when her Our Lady of Hope Home School Choir, accompanied by St Luke Mission of Mercy’s missionaries, performed Christmas Carols to ring in the Christmas season to the Broadway Market. They added great joy to the opening day of Santa at the Broadway Market.  Amy invited me back to see how her food distribution was fairing at St Luke’s, and I’m so happy I took her up on that offer.  I watched hundreds of unpaid workers, tens of thousands of dollars of donations and over a thousand people receive support at this critical time of year.

As Buffalo is rising once again, we should be grateful that we have leaders like Amy Betros that understand how many people are still struggling. Armed with missionaries, she attacks poverty on the East Side of Buffalo with a gentle mercy and grace. Amy and that beautiful historic church are without question some of Buffalo’s treasures. She brings to us what our community is in need of most – love and mercy.

Saint Luke’s mission is as follows:

“Together let us work toward a fullness of life, for all people, of all ages, of all cultures, of all social status, and of all faiths. Let our tools be unconditional acceptance, peaceful understanding and loving forgiveness in order to restore human dignity to the lonely, the broken-hearted, and the mentally and physically oppressed.”

For more information you can reach out to Saint Luke’s.

Written by Mark Lazzara

Mark Lazzara

I have a passion for helping my fellow Western New Yorkers and advance the great things that are going on in this region. Buffalo Rising is a great booster and it’s a blast writing and contributing to BR about positive happenings in our neck of the woods. I appreciate the help I’ve received over the years from organizations and people who share my passion and supported me in efforts that put thousands of people to work and resulted in a community give back of more than $115M to Buffalo’s neediest during my days at the helm of AmeriCorps.

I’m especially grateful for the opportunities that enabled me to help cities devastated by Hurricane Katrina and rebuild more than 700 family homes that were destroyed. Back at home, I was able to enjoy a once in a lifetime experience as a coordinator for ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition where we were able to repair, beautify and upgrade homes for an entire neighborhood on Buffalo’s Westside. Other projects close to my heart include a collaboration with Sail Buffalo to build the Cazenovia Boating Center at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor, and my annual Christmas season time is spent at Buffalo’s treasure, the Broadway Market, playing Santa Clause.

In my other life, I am a workforce development, business, marketing, public relations and fundraising professional. Earned a M.S. Human Service Management from Buffalo State, and enjoy my family life that includes four amazing grandchildren!

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