This is a very difficult message to write. As of Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the Friary will temporarily close. Our Guest Services is working with the Erie County Department of Social Services to place our guests.
Out of an abundance of caution many of us have elected to follow guidance issued by both the Federal and the State governments and remain in our homes as much as possible over the next several weeks. At an emergency meeting of the Core last evening the decision to close was made based on the inevitable resulting staff shortage.
This email may not reach all volunteers so please make an effort to reach out to anyone that you work with to confirm that they’re aware of the situation. We will send you updates on a regular basis. Please know that your efforts are appreciated more than you’ll ever know.
Our prayers go out for all volunteers, guests, and their families.
I want to introduce you to an amazing nonprofit integral to the Buffalo community. Little Portion Friary serves as a homeless shelter for Buffalo’s most needy residents. They provide linkages to essential resources including social services, financial benefits, health care, mental health, addiction, and housing services. All guests (we recognize the human dignity of each person and treat them as if they are a guest in our own home) stay in 2-3 person bedrooms (not one large room with bunks or cots that are unsafe or noisy or where you are in fear of losing your only belongings). They are served breakfast, a lunch to take with them if they are working and a hot home-cooked meal served family-style around the dining table. Guests even have the luxury of relaxing in front of the television in one of the living rooms or even playing board games, cards or settling into a good book. Laundry is even provided for the guests by the volunteers. They maintain a clothes closet for those that come with little to nothing on their back or those who might even need something to wear for an interview.
What’s even more unique is that LPF is all volunteer-run, with no paid staff and they receive no government funding. Operating and costs associated with the care of the guest are provided by the sole generosity of others through food/clothes donations and monetary contributions. Without your support and without the funds to operate they can not provide these essential services.
Please vote LPF as the best charity in the Cellino Plumbing Truck Wrap contest to identify the best charity in Buffalo. A substantial monetary donation will be made to the winning charity. LPF can get a month of advertising and a very large monetary donation.
Let’s vote Little Portion Friary the best charity in Cellino Plumbing Truck Wrap contest. Vote now until March 12.
This last year we have had our fill of trials and many joyous occasions. A very thankful occasion occurred this year as Thomann Asphalt and Paving paved our side lot and removed a tree stump. The tree stump was over 4 ft in diameter which limited the parking and caused a hazard when walking. It is now a nice level parking lot for our volunteers.
The august shutdown occurred as always and we are thankful for the DOT, M&T and the many others who volunteered their time in August to refurbish the friary for the upcoming year.
For trials we had many but the top one had to be the plumbing we again are thankful to our plumbers who have volunteered and corrected numerous problems in the archaic plumbing at the friary.
We opened September 9th this year and were full by the 2nd day. This year as of 10/29/2019 we have served 380 and placed 54 in housing with jobs and/or assistance as needed.
Thank you to all who have donated their time and/or financial means to support the friary
For the months of November and December the Little Portion friary server 46 and 55 guests respectively. In November we served 33 male and 13 females guests. In December we served 46 male and 12 females guests. Of these guest 2 were veterans in both November and December. Without the help of volunteers such as cooks who offer their time, talents and sometimes their own food we would not be able to feed the homeless a breakfast and a warm meal at night.
Many volunteers made a difference in the lives of the homeless this month. These included handmade blankets from high schools. Volunteers who really extended themselves working on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. We should all be thankful for the many people we have in our lives. Many of the homeless at little portion friary were not as fortunate and were limited to the volunteers who extended themselves to serve at the Friary this Christmas.
One volunteer who made a difference this month was Collette. She brought her homemade cookies in with homemade frosting and other cookie decorations. Each guest decorated their cookies. Some said they were going to take these to their children. We hope and pray some relationships were mended through her efforts. Below are some pictures of the occasion.
We continue to correct the outdoor lighting situation or lack of this month. The front of the friary is now very well lit with a LED which completely illuminates the front lawn. LED flood lights with dusk to dawn sensors have been installed in the back of the friary. We are now down to 2 portions of the friary not lit at night. We hope to complete these the first part of next year.
Volunteers are greatly needed to cover shifts and donations are essential for the Friary to stay open. Please consider volunteering.
For the month of October, the Little Portion friary served 68 guests, 40 male and 28 female, of these guest 4 were veterans. Without the help of volunteers such as cooks who offer their time, talents and sometimes their own food we would not be able to feed the homeless.
We continue to correct the outdoor lighting situation this month. The metal halide light bulbs continue to be replaced and every so often a light fixture is converted to a Light Emitting Diode (LED) fixture.
Volunteers are greatly needed to cover shifts and donations are essential for the Friary to stay open. Please consider volunteering.
For the month of September, the Friary doors were once again opened to the homeless. We started at 9:00 AM on September 10th, and by 1:00 PM we were full! Your donations have helped 29 men and 14 women this month who were much less fortunate. Without our volunteer staff and donations by others, these 43 souls would have been on the streets in September. Volunteers are greatly needed, and donations are essential for the Friary to stay open.
A safety concern was risen by a volunteer after bikes were stolen from the friary. Some of the outside lighting did not work. Several of the bulbs used outside are being phased out, and they are not easy to find. We were able to locate these bulbs, and purchase them for a fraction of the cost since they were on clearance! All of the dead blubs have been replaced, a halogen light was installed to light the bike lockup, and a LED light was installed at the entry. Thank you Lord. Also, a big thanks goes out to the volunteers who purchased and installed the new lights. For now our main focus is replacing bulbs and updating the system when possible. For the long term, we would like to replace these with LED lights which have a higher upfront cost but are more efficient to run.
Thomann asphalt and paving has offered to repave the friary’s parking lot. This would not have been possible considering the limited finances of little portion friary. We are thankful for this generous offer and will keep all beneficiaries and volunteers in our prayers.
During the month of August, we were closed for much needed cleaning and repairs. In addition to carpet shampooing by Ron Karwik and Chris Cammarano, freezer and kitchen cleaning by Sr. Barbara and friends, curtain cleaning, ironing and hanging by Ann Hulbert and friends and many signs made and upgraded by Barb, we had four groups help.
In the first week, two 12 member groups from M&T Bank did the initial cleaning of 16 bedrooms, hallways, bathrooms, the kitchen, the front office, cut the grass, trimmed hedges and more.
For the 12th consecutive year, the NYSDOT sent volunteers on the United Way Day of Caring. About 11 came and painted the black iron gates on the driveway, did extensive grounds keeping, started repair of the 1st floor men’s bathroom ceiling (installed the replacement ceiling board), cleaned baseboard heating units, painted the shed and back door and frame, built a shelf for the dirty linen container closet.
They were assisted by 9 volunteers from Watts Architecture and Engineering firm.
On August 18th, for maybe the 6th year, 20 folks from St. Mary’s Parish in Swormville came. They painted the women’s bathroom metal dividers, continued the repair of the men’s bathroom ceiling (plastering around the new board), identified unusable vacuum cleaner supplies and cleaned and repaired vacuums, caulked around showers, painted the front office, cleaned and flushed roof gutters and downspouts, blew out all dryer vent hoses, checked all lights and replaced bulbs, checked and tightened all loose furniture parts, did touch-up painting of baseboards and door frames and miscellaneous cleaning. This photo is from 2017 but a lot of the same people came.
At the end of the month, 5 members of the Erie County Sheriff’s Service Action Corps came on three separate days to finish up projects. They primed and painted the new bathroom ceiling, replaced a worn entrance stair and supports, cut and trimmed the grass, finished cleaning the men’s bathrooms, scrubbed all the tile floors, did touch-up painting, and moved a lot of furniture back.
For the months of April, May, and June the friary has been running smooth thanks to God’s help. There has been the occasional guest asked to leave but there have been many success stories. One success story is Ryan, he came to the friary with a dependency (i.e. alcohol, drugs, gambling…). Most of our guests have a dependency and while at the friary they struggle to lose this. They know they must not be using while at the friary or they risk losing their bed.
Now back to Ryan, I was walking through my neighborhood which God alone has allowed me to live in. It’s in an affluent area in Clarence. As I was walked my grandchildren to a park a person working on a house waved to me and I waved back. After playing at the park we returned passing the house. This time the fellow came out and greeted me. It was Ryan, He was installing hardwood floors in the house. He told me, he is still struggling but with God’s help, he is making it each day. He has faith, he has an apartment, he has a car, he has a job, but the greatest of these is his faith. This faith will carry him as it should carry us through the difficult times. On parting, he told me God is good and my reply as all of ours should be is “ALL THE TIME”. I thank God he has allowed me to see Ryan to affirm my faith and I hope this short letter affirms your faith that God is helping through his works at the friary.
Your donations the past months have helped men and women who are much less fortunate. Without our volunteer staff and donations from others, these souls would have been on the streets. Volunteers are greatly needed and donations are essential for the Friary to stay open.
For the month of March, we had a surprise plumbing bill which really humbled us. The main sewer pipe from the friary to the street was plugged or crushed. The plumbers were called and after approximately 14 hours they once again had the water running. Think of it, you have 29 guests at your house and no water! You must ask them to go elsewhere if they need to use water! The dishes piled up, the laundry was halted, no showers, no water use through that evening and night! Yes, this started in the afternoon. So the next morning the volunteers were doing dishes and laundry for what seemed an unending task! We were humbled but we also were allowed to serve those in much greater need than us.
We continue to make the most of each donation through optimizing our phone, TV and cable plans. We have moved off cable TV and phone service and are now down to a minimum internet service. Our female engineer still wishes to optimize this solution further! She currently has reduced the monthly bill from a business service phone, TV, and internet costing $200/Mo down to a $50/mo bill. She wants to achieve a $15/Mo plan in the hopes of making each donation count.
For March your donations have helped 47 men and 18 women who were much less fortunate. Without our volunteer staff and donations by others, these 65 souls would have been on the streets in March. Volunteers are greatly needed and donations are essential for the Friary to stay open.
This appears to be a repeat of last month! The end of the month brought us a foot of snow in Buffalo I’m warm, the 29 Guests currently staying at Little Portion Friary (LPF) are also warm thanks to your donations, volunteers staffing LPF and guests being tentative to their plan.
We continue to make the most of each donation through optimizing our phone, TV and cable plans. We moved off cable TV last month and are using a free space antenna and TV both donated by our benefactors, who we continue to pray for. This month we started the migration from a cable phone service to a Voice over IP system. The device and supporting equipment was donated and to show God’s immense grace the engineer who donated the device provided her services to configure and install this device.
For the month of February, your donations have helped 47 men and 22 women who were much less fortunate. Without our volunteer staff and donations by others, these 69 souls would have been on the streets in February. Volunteers are greatly needed and donations are essential for us to stay open.