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“Community Cookout and Giveaway on The Broadway” in support of Buffalo F.A.T.H.E.R.S. and friends

In the Book of Matthew in The Bible, it says: “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth. When you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

Members of F.A.T.H.E.R.S. at the food giveaway, from left, Michael Brown, Carl Phillips, Lenny Lane, Dorian Gaskin

My dear friend, Lenny Lane, one of the founders of the Buffalo F.A.T.H.E.R.S., a group of East Side men who have been working tirelessly to protect the children and to provide for families in need 24/7/365 needs help and in doing so we can fulfill that Bible verse.

Calling it their most daunting task in 20 years of existence, F.A.T.H.E.R.S. along with City of Buffalo and Erie County officials, Fillmore District Councilmember Mitch Nowakowski, The Stop the Violence Coalition, Buffalo Peacemakers, Back to Basics, Mt. Hope Community Church, Buffalo United Front and many other organizations and corporate sponsors are coming together this Wednesday (noon-6 p.m.) and Thursday (10 a.m-7 p.m.) for what they are calling a “Community Cookout and Giveaway on The Broadway” (1400, between Miller and Titus Streets).  These volunteers will be distributing food, clothing, blankets, much needed school supplies, book bags  and much more to all who are in need.  The Erie County Dept. of Health will have its mobile unit on site administrating Covid Vaccines.  There will also be a giveaway of Narcan units.

Their hope is to reach everyone, even those who cannot reach out to them for help.

Lenny Lane at a recent food giveaway on Broadway
An appreciative family receives fresh fruits and vegetables.

“This is not political and it is not about Broadway or the East Side of Buffalo.  It is about humanity and saving lives.  They have no access to fresh fruits and vegetables so we have been there the past three months giving out those items and they are so appreciative,” Lane said.

Buffalo is one of the poorest cities in America and we are all aware of the continuing needs in our community during the pandemic and in the time following. We see families and neighbors struggling to have enough food and other basic items for their comfort and survival. But there are also unseen folks in our community, hidden from our sight, with an even greater need for these things. And they also need our love and caring. 

Lenny said the stretch of Broadway from Memorial Drive to Bailey Avenue is the worst he has ever seen in terms of homelessness, prostitution, drug and opioid usage, kids wandering and a general feeling of hopelessness. He is quite concerned about what will happen when the weather gets colder and winter arrives. He is also in desperate need for book bags and school supplies for the kids, who truly are the innocent victims of all this.

“We began F.A.T.H.E.R.S. to create a safe environment for our kids.  To see what the kids in this neighborhood are dealing with breaks my heart,” Lane said as he took a break from reaching out to businesses for donations.  “We need to clean this area up and watch over our kids.  The homelessness is the worst we have seen and we are worried about when it gets colder.

“We are bringing so many wonderful organizations to that block for two days to make a difference that we hope and pray will continue on,” he said.  “We have been meeting continuously to discuss how we can make the most of our time there talking to people and finding out their needs so we can get them help.  These are our brothers and sisters.  We have got to work on helping them improve their lives,” he continued.

Financial donations, as well as donations of school supplies, food, coats, blankets are much needed. All checks can be made to Delavan Grider Community Center, 877 E. Delavan Ave, Buffalo, NY 14215. Please call 716-445-4053, or write to buffalofathers@yahoo.com, for more information. They also have a large mobile emergency vehicle to pick up donations.

“We truly appreciate everyone’s support in this effort, which can only be successful with our WNY community behind them. We are blessed to be part of this generous and loving place they call the City of Good Neighbors,” Lane said.

Their work reminds me of another Biblical verse: “God brings to those who worship him a divine power, a divine love and a divine healing.”

We are all aware of the continuing needs in our community, throughout the pandemic, and in this time following. We see families and neighbors struggling to have enough food and other basic items for their comfort and survival. But there are also unseen folks in our community, hidden from our sight, with an even greater need for these things. And they also need our love and caring.

The F.A.T.H.E.R.S. and their partners have been called to find them and show that them that they are loved and that we care for them. On August 25 and 26, we will be on the streets distributing food and much more, to all who are in need. Our hope is to reach everyone,even those who cannot reach out to us for help.

We appreciate your support in this effort, which can only be successful with our Buffalo community behind us. We are blessed to be part of this generous and loving place. Financial donations, as well as donations of school supplies are our priority. All checks can be made to Delavan Grider Community Center, 877 E. Delavan Ave, Buffalo, NY 14215. Please call 716-445-4053, or write to buffalofathers@yahoo.com, for more information.

Lead image: Photo by Humphrey Muleba

Written by Michael J. Billoni

Michael J. Billoni

A journalist for nearly 50 years who was an award-winning sports reporter for the Buffalo Courier-Express until it closed in 1982. He was the former vice president/general manager of the Buffalo Bisons and a member of the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame. Handled the promotions and publicity for Buffalo’s undefeated heavyweight boxer, “Baby Joe” Mesi. Founder and is managing partner of Billoni Associates. He authored and managed “Robert E. Rich—Memoirs of an Innovator,” the biography of the founder of Rich Products Corp; published 'All In," the memoir of businessman Ronald Zoeller and is currently publishing The Seasons of Buffalo Baseball, the most comprehensive history of professional baseball in the city. It will be released April 17, 2020.

Mike and is wife Debbie love Western New York and always try to help others and encourage positive thoughts

View All Articles by Michael J. Billoni
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