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Buffalo church looking to expand its community impact

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An East Side church is planning a $3 million expansion, saying new space will help the congregation deal with social problems in the neighborhood. First Calvary Missionary Baptist will build a new church and transform the current church into space for vital community programs.

"It's going to cost a lot of manpower, a lot of sweat equity," said Pastor Jason Drayton.

"We're looking to roughly 8-10 months of construction and if God blesses us, we're looking to break ground this spring."

The project first needs a special use permit from City Hall. Drayton believes his church needs to be a major force in its William-Jefferson neighborhood.

"The church is growing but not just a place to go once a week. We realize that when it comes to a church it cannot be an entity to itself. It has to serve the community," Drayton said.

The issues are many. Housing. Health services. Food.  

"Just yesterday, I had a 15-year-old and a 13-year-old who just had a baby together in talking to me," Drayton recounted.  

"So, the need for parental training is definitely there because they have Mom and maybe a Dad somewhere else but they're a child themselves."
 

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.