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Generous area residents respond to food pantry's appeal for church

Workers and clients are not in the cold any more and, thanks to generous Western New Yorkers, the West Seneca Food Pantry should have a good roof over its head for the foreseeable future.

The pantry is located in a house owned by St. David's Episcopal Church on Seneca Street, where the boiler broke a month ago.

The church arranged for a new boiler to be installed last week. The unexpected cost of $4,000 was defrayed by some money the pantry had set aside, but Pantry Director Mary Lou Dietrich appealed for help from the West Seneca community to help the small church.

"We were just amazed," she said. "Within hours of the story, people were coming with checks."

Small and large, each to his own ability, area residents came through.

One utility worker dropped off a check on her lunch hour, and another man who brings food from his church to the pantry every month brought a sizable donation.

"He had the funds, he said might as well do God's work with it," Dietrich said.

The mission committee at Ebenezer United Church of Christ, which donated a freezer and start-up money last year, sent a large donation. Collision shops offered money.

The Fitting Place, a children's shoe store at nearby Southgate Plaza, brought over a check for $500, and the non-teaching staff in West Seneca Central Schools donated $1,300.

And James J. Eagan, the West Seneca man trying to save the Statler Towers in Buffalo along with restaurateur Mark Croce, came over with a check for $2,500.

Once they knew they had enough money to pay for the new boiler, the pantry contacted the donors, to ask if they would like their money back, or to give it to another group that might need it.

"Everyone said no, everyone said keep it," Dietrich said.

St. David's is starting a new line-item on its budget for maintenance and repairs of the house.

"It does desperately need a roof," Dietrich said.

And with the generous response from friends and strangers, a $4,000 fund has been started for roof repairs, and to fix the back entrance, which has been enclosed by tarps.

"I'm just so happy for the church," Dietrich said.

The food pantry, which provides food to about 300 people every month, coordinates with Fourteen Holy Helpers Church, which offers food to the needy without transportation. The food pantry has been named "service organization of the year" by the West Seneca Chamber of Commerce.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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