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City Mission Sees Increasing Need for Services

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Buffalo City Mission says more families are seeking assistance at its food pantry and family program. And now with the holiday season underway more are expected to line up for help.

City Mission leaders say they've received more requests for food and shelter this year than last year. Executive Director Tom McLaughlin says it's a combination of a weak economy and lack of government assistance. He says at the Mission's Cornerstone Manor, specializing in services for women and children, they are turning away people in "record numbers." McLaughlin says the number of homeless women and children is on the rise in Buffalo and nationwide.

"Many of these women have a job, but can't make ends meet," McLaughlin said. "Some suffered from domestic violence, others lost their government benefits, so they have to come to places like us that don't charge for services. We are not surprised they are coming, but we are not physically able to accommodate them."

But McLaughlin says the City Mission would never send a person back out into the cold or without food.

"Even if we don't have a bed for them, we will keep them in the building. We are not going to let a person freeze or starve," McLaughlin said. "But meeting any needs beyond that, which is needed to help a person long term, are very difficult when resources are limited."

After delivering 2,000 Thanksgiving meals last week, the City Mission is now gearing up for the holiday season. McLaughlin says the Mission continues to raise funds to assist the area's homeless, but depends on the community's support.

Cash donations, food and clothing are always accepted, and in order to deliver City Mission services, volunteers are needed year round. Volunteers serve meals, help with housekeeping or counsel the 150 men at the East Tupper shelter and 60 women and children at the Cornerstone Manor.