I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. – Philippians 1:3-5
Once breakfast was over we all headed out and went to the storage warehouse of the Buffalo Dream Center. While at the warehouse we met Ms. Lindsay, the coordinator for Project Prevention. The Project Prevention ministry was started after Pastor Eric became aware that some families were at the brink of being separated by Child Protective Services because they were not able to provide the needed essentials, such as appropriate bedding, working appliances, attire, and food that the state required. Project Prevention operates by going into the homes of these at-risk families and dialogues with the members. They deliver goods that would prevent Child Protective Services from coming in and separating children from parents and parents from children. For each household they enter, volunteers and staff take time to help clean the home and pray for the families after sharing the gospel, even in Muslim homes and homes of other religions.
While at the warehouse we were introduced to three of Pastor Eric’s children, Michaela, Alex, and Nate, in addition to his in-laws, Pastor Carmen and Mrs. Linda. We were divided into four teams that would distribute non-perishable food, eggs, bread, clothes and any other house goods that would be needed to every homeowner that would be encountered during the house visits. After breaking into groups we started loading the vans and cars, as each group would be going to a different section of the city.
Driving around the city, the needs of the people became a reality. We drove by many boarded houses and many homes that were disheveled, abandoned or in need of major repairs. The teams drove to each designated home, giving the homeowners food and other needed essentials. In many of the homes we entered, the homeowners did not speak English but they were very welcoming and friendly. They were open to us praying for them and over their family. These families came from all over the world and many were refugees. Not all homes were open to the aid we were providing, however. One team shared that as they were leaving one of the houses where the mom did not speak English, she told her young son to inform the team that they did not want the groceries and for the team to take it back with them.
Going into these homes, the leaders and youth experienced the great difference between our style of living and all its privileges versus the style of living of these families. Many of the homes were bare with very little in them, and many of them very dirty with expired and spoiled food. All the groups attested that while they were putting away the groceries for the families that many of the homes had empty fridges and empty cupboard, so trying to figure out where food might go was a challenge. Many found that the non-perishables being delivered were the only things that could be found in the cupboards.
While in the homes, some of the groups had the chance to help clean up the spaces by doing dishes, wiping counter tops, cleaning fridges, moping floors and rearranging shoes that were thrown all over the entry way. While the kids in the city of Buffalo were not on Spring Break, some groups did get to visit homes were they got to play with children, give them candy and converse with them. After a quick break for lunch at Tim Horton’s, we visited the remaining homes on the lists.
After finishing up the home visits, we then went into some heavily populated neighborhoods on the west side of Buffalo and put flyers promoting the Kidz Club that would take place tomorrow afternoon. After running around and visiting almost 500 apartments to pass out flyers, we finally headed back to the Harvest House to eat dinner and have some free time.
After dinner we headed to an apartment complex for the elderly and disabled in Marine Drive where we had the opportunity to serve by bringing their groceries up to their apartments that were provided by the Buffalo Dream Center. Many of us were also given the chance to be able to pray for individuals from the community for their daily issues and situations. The work sharing the groceries at the apartments went by quickly and soon after we all headed back to the Harvest House to rest up for the next day. Most of us gathered together to play games and watched a movie to have some laughs.
We were told to bring clothes that we wouldn’t mind getting dirty for tomorrow, as we will be doing work projects in the morning, and in the afternoon we will be facilitating the Buffalo Kidz Club. Pray that God can continue to use us to serve and love the people of Buffalo.