Members of Youth Build and the Service Collaborative of Western New York canvassed the Village of Hamburg, handing out bags and flyers for residents to use for the food drive on Monday, Jan. 21.
Several local community-based organizations are coming together in the Village of Hamburg on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in an effort to help stave off hunger in the Buffalo area.
The collaborative effort hopes to collect between five and 10,000 pounds of food from the village to donate to the Food Bank of Western New York, said Adam Bartoszek, program manager of the Western New York Regional Volunteer Center. The Western New York Regional Volunteer Center is working with The Service Collaborative of Western New York, Inc. and the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County on the project.
Last week, volunteers from Youth Build, one of the groups involved with the project, went door-to-door in the village, providing each resident with a bag for donations and a flyer explaining what the various groups are doing. People in the village seemed receptive to the idea, said Youth Build Team Leader Ayreace Hover.
“A lot of people responded well when I talked to them and gave them face to face contact,” he said. “People said they were going to actually participate and they were looking forward to it.”
Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been recognized as a national day of service for several years, and the groups involved have events scheduled every year to coincide with the date. This is their first time in Hamburg, something that was brought about by Katya Kroll-Haeick, placement officer for the Service Collaborative of Western New York, who grew up in Hamburg. She thought the village would be a perfect place for this event, based on her experiences growing up in Hamburg.
“She thought, we have a great community, we have people who are generous in this community, and a food drive, in the village in particular, would work very well,” said Village of Hamburg Recreation Supervisor and Kroll-Haeick’s brother, Josh Haeick.
Kroll-Haeick approached her brother with the idea, who called it a “no brainer,” and the project began to develop. After meeting with his sister and Bartoszek to figure out logistics, a presentation was made to the village board, who signed off on the food drive at the beginning of December. Things progressed from there.
Flyers were also distributed to schools, to get children involved with the project. Since it’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day, schools are off, and volunteering provides an opportunity for families to get involved, Haeick said.
“We promoted this in the schools because we want this to be a family day of service,” he said. “There’s going to be a big family component to this. Moms and dads can bring their sons or daughters and really explain, just by their actions, what service is all about.”
For village residents who want to participate in the food drive and volunteer their time, pre-registration is required online at www.VolunteerWNY.org
Residents can also leave a plastic bag filled with canned and non-perishable goods on their front porch before 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 21. Volunteers will be collecting the bags in the village between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on that day.
For non-village residents, volunteers will be on hand at the Hamburg Memorial Youth Center, located at 200 Prospect Ave., between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. to collect donations as well.
This event is important for a few different reasons, Bartoszek said. It allows the volunteers to engage in community service and it fills a real need in the Buffalo area.
“We’re addressing the area of hunger elimination,” he said. “The food bank operates within our region and this allows them to provide food to the pantries they serve. Hopefully, we have a large donation to give.”