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City Mission Falls Short of $1.3 Million Goal

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – The Buffalo City Mission is in big demand. Leaders says it is helping more and more people in need, but fell short of its annual fundraising goal.

The City Mission is much more than just a shelter for the area's homeless. It provides food, clothing, emergency and preventative services, reaching out to those who have no place to live or work.

But efforts to raise $1.3 million for this year's "Restore Hope, Dignity and Lives" campaign have fallen short by $175,000. City Mission executive director Thomas McLaughlin says donations were actually up this year, but with a demand for services, tough economic times and cold weather they've fallen behind.

"More people gave this year than last year," McLaughlin said. "It is not that the giving is down, but that there are more people coming here for our services.

"We had a 15 percent increase of men coming to our shelter. We had to put additional beds in there this fall. The number of people coming to the women's shelter has grown over the last two years and people coming for food has increased by 37 percent."

McLaughlin say they've had a record number of women and children seeking refuge at an already overcrowded Cornerstone Manor.

"We are turning away nearly 100 women and children per month at Cornerstone Manor," McLaughlin said. "Those numbers have dramatically increased in the last year. That is due to more women who are dealing with issues of domestic violence, recovery of mental illness, loss of job and a variety of issues leaving them homeless."

McLaughlin says this is not the first first time the fundraising effort has fallen short of its goal. It was extended 30 days in an effort to catch up, but it didn't make a difference with clients needs outweighing resources.

Now the City Mission is appealing to the public for more help. McLaughlin says they will work to reach out to area businesses and individuals to help close the campaign gap.