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Buffalo ReUse Growing and Getting Greener

Michael Gainer, Stephanie Simeon, Harvey Garrett at Buffalo ReUse
Michael Gainer, Stephanie Simeon, Harvey Garrett at Buffalo ReUse

By Joyce Kryszak

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-832920.mp3

Buffalo, NY – East Side not-for-profit started two years ago is expanding once again by partnering with two West Side Leaders. Buffalo ReUse Tuesday announced that Harvey Garrett of PUSH Buffalo and Stephanie Simeon of Heart of the City Neighborhoods will join the group's neighborhood revitalization efforts.

The 200 block of Northhampton Street looks a bit different these days. There is a cheery yellow house with bright white gingerbread trim that would look more familiar over in Allentown. But since Buffalo ReUse moved its salvage warehouse to the East Side neighborhood two years ago, the houses nearby are a bit neater. And a little better maintained. Bernard Smith lives across the street. He said he was skeptical at first, but now hopes Buffalo ReUse stays for a long time.

Smith is a steady volunteer at Buffalo ReUse. He helps load used lumber and other materials for the customers who come for bargains. Smith said those bargains - and the support of the staff - are inspiring neighbors, including himself, to work on their houses who might not have before.

Mike Gainer is the founder and chief operating officer of Buffalo ReUse. Gainer said they started with a pick up truck and a staff of all volunteers. Now, they have about a dozen employees. Garrett has been hired as chief executive officer to run the nearly one million dollar salvage business. Simeon will lead the board helping the organization grow further. Gainer said their vision of partnering to salvage houses - and neighborhoods - is catching on.

Gainer said they will also begin to salvage young people. The group recently received a $650,000 Neighborhood Stabilization Proposal grant. Part of it, along with another half million dollar grant expected from the Conference of Mayors will be used to hire roughly 32 high school drop outs in a pre-apprenticeship program. Garrett said they take everything the community throws away and make it valuable.

He said they are generating enough funds that they expect Buffalo ReUse to be self-sustaining in about three years.

On Saturday, April 25 the Buffalo ReUse ReSource warehouse on Northampton St. will host an "Earth Warming" Open House from 12-4pm with demonstrations, games, environmental education, music and family-fun events to celebrate Earth Day and Spring. For more details go to Buffalo ReUse.

Click the audio player above to hear Joyce Kryszak's story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod. Joyce Kryszak - WBFO News.