Niagara Gazette — As we've heard so many times, the Niagara area has many challenges that appear insurmountable. Through the years the story seldom changes: more job loss, lack of development, neighborhood blight and a municipal government that too often seems divisive and self-serving for strictly political reasons.
Another story that doesn't change either is the bright light that shines on this community 24-7. It's the agencies that pull together to take care of people in need. Two prime examples: Community Missions Inc., 1570 Buffalo Ave., and Heart & Soul, 939 Ontario Ave. Their steady hands make life better for local residents struggling to cope on a daily basis, especially at holidays. Unfortunately, due to the battered economy and dismal outlook for jobs, there are even more people here in dire straits that a couple of years ago.
Visit Heart & Soul any weekday and you'll find a hub for hundreds of local people afforded a good nutritious meal and a chance to enjoy a conversation with others. The agency expanded it operations to also provide breakfast for those in need.
To meet that daily demand, the agency depends heavily on the food supplied through the state Department of Health and the Food Bank of Buffalo. Sister Beth Brosmer, OSF, executive director of Heart & Soul, said the agency is in the second year of a five-year contract with the state program known as "Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance." Aside from that program. Heart & Soul receives cash contributions as well as food donations from individuals and organizations.
While Heart & Soul actually closes for the holiday, it refers all its dining room guests to the Lord's Day organizers at the VFW Post, Seneca Avenue, the event hosted by Yvonne and Matt Davis. "They (the Heart & Soul) and their volunteers give us a big help every year," Ms. Davis said.