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City Mission prepping meals for hundreds, presents for kids

Mike Desmond

For many, the symbol of Christmas is a good family meal. But for less fortunate people, they can't do it themselves. That's where an array of community agencies step in and provide meals and Christmas presents in the spirit of the season. At Buffalo City Mission, food preparations are underway Tuesday for the hundreds of people who live in mission facilities or come in for warmth and a meal. Ninety men are staying in the Mission's emergency shelter and 55 are living in its long-term transitional program.

There are special plans at Cornerstone Manor, its protected home for women and families. Executive Director Stuart Harper says kids will have presents under a tree in the facility they can tell classmates about when school starts up.

"There's Christmas around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning and each one of the families celebrate a little bit differently. The moms with kids, they may have some celebration in their own rooms. We honor whatever faith that they are to make sure that they want to go to whatever faith church that they belong to," Harper said.

Harper says about 100 women and 30 are living at the manor, a secure space for families that have dealt with instability and domestic violence.

The mission is also preparing food for the annual Hambone Express, ham dinners that will be delivered Christmas morning by volunteers to 3,100 people who might not be able to have their own.

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.