Wow, thanks to you, we are making a big difference for our homeless friends in need.
Since starting our fundraising efforts for Friends of Night People, in memory of Larry “the homeless wonder of Williamsville”, we have seen nearly $2,500 raised and dozens of supporters. So, we wanted to bring you closer to the mission we decided to fundraise for.
We would be remiss if we didn’t call out a woman by the name of Samantha Christmann, who inspired us to pick Friends of Night, due to her consistent awareness of the cause.
So, what is Friends of Night People and why do they need our support?
We spoke with their Relationship Manager, Patty Krehbiel on how funds are spent and what FONP mean to those in need in Buffalo, NY.
How did Friends of Night start and how does it differ from the City Mission?
Friends of Night People was founded in 1969 by a group of clergy. Originally it was on Chippewa, back when it was the red light district. The idea was to create a safe place for people who worked or frequented the area to have a space to get something warm to eat. They wanted to foster a sense of community, so guests could share referrals and information. Despite being founded by clergy members, FONP is nondenominational. Unlike the City Mission, we do not offer a place to sleep.
What does FONP offer to someone who is in need?
Funds raised go to our operating costs: heat, water and maintenance, of course. But it also supports the many services we make available to our guests.
We offer dinner every night from 5 to 7pm, lunches on Wednesday and Thursday, and we have a food pantry twice a week in the building, which provides groceries to people in the area in need.
We have a medical clinic twice a month in the building, which includes podiatry, we have an optical clinic that provides exams and glasses, and we have a clothing closet that provides clothing, bedding, shoes and hygiene products. We also have lockers, laundry facilities and mailbox services that people can utilize if they are in need.
Through our ‘Friends of Friends’ program, we help people get identification, public benefits and housing assistance. All of the services are free of charge. That's why donations are so important to us.
Did you know Larry personally?
I did not have the pleasure of meeting Larry, but he certainly made a major impact on our community.
Why is giving back to programs like yours so crucial?
The community we serve are our neighbors, our co-workers, our family and friends. We feed anyone who comes through our door. We have partnered with organizations all over the city to prepare meals and mobile pantries. Unfortunately, poverty doesn’t discriminate and in the ‘City of Good Neighbors’ we all have to help each other out.
How many people do you serve on average annually?
Last year we served about 137,000 meals. On average, we serve about 140 per night, but I have seen it go well over 300!
How do you incorporate HOPE into the operation of Friends of Night People?
It's part of our motto! We provide HELP and HOPE.
To donate to the Hope Rises Friends of Night fundraiser, head here.