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Discount Diva: Keep Christmas in your heart year round

Samantha Christmann

Merry Christmas, everyone!

I hope you are with people you love, someplace warm with food in your belly and full of Christmas spirit.

Would you like to keep this “good will toward men” thing going year round? Wonderful!

Here are some of my favorite places to get started:

Friends Feeding Friends. In 2014, Regina Weise started feeding the homeless out of the trunk of her car near the Greyhound Bus Station. Since then, she and her granddaughter, Anna, have cooked for and served people in downtown Buffalo every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday night. Until recently, she worked a full-time job to meet her own needs, plus a part-time job to support her “Friends Feeding Friends” habit. If you’d like to help make food or donate supplies, call 335-4233.

Buffalo’s Good Neighbors. Amanda Wieczorek started a Facebook page to highlight good deeds done by people in Buffalo. She got so inspired, she started doing her own good deeds instead. She and her friends work directly with people in need, serving hot lunches, coffee, winter items and basic necessities every Sunday at 1 p.m. in Fireman’s Park. You can donate things like food, winter clothing, laundry soap or toilet paper. Call 352-9600.

St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy. It gets no funding from the government or the Catholic Diocese, yet it does more meaningful work in the community than other charities with much larger budgets. It feeds, clothes, houses and serves thousands upon thousands of people every year, providing everything from Christmas trees and Easter baskets to diapers and education. Call 625-6174.

Friends of Night People. If someone is in need of something, whether it’s a hot meal, a winter coat or a pair of eyeglasses, Friends of Night People serves them with a loving heart, no questions asked, 365 days a year. Amazing. Call 884-5375.

Journey’s End. Refugees flee unspeakable horrors, often after years in limbo. This resettlement agency provides them with everything they need to be healthy and productive in their new homeland. Call 882-4963.

The Magdalene Project. Some very tough lives are being lived in Niagara Falls. This charity seeks them and cares for them. You can donate things like food and supplies for its bagged lunches and monthly dinners or warm winter accessories in all sizes. Call 282-0908.

Vive. Refugees arrive at 50 Wyoming Ave. with just a small bag of personal belongings. You can donate items for their stay at the shelter, including travel-sized toiletries, pillows, Maxi pads, bus passes, gift cards and winter outerwear. Call 892-4354.

Buffalo Dream Weavers. In 2009, Michele Johnson lost her beloved son, James. She found the only thing that eased the pain was helping others. She started giving Candyland games to kindergartners at Christmas time (James loved candy) and Easter baskets to St. Luke’s at Easter. Among dozens of other random acts of kindness, she does several Warm it Forward events per year. The public is invited to bring warm boots, socks, gloves, hats and scarves packaged in Ziplock bags to hang outside for those in need. The next one will be from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 27 outside Friends of Night People, 394 Hudson St. and at the corner of Broadway and Bailey Avenue.

Do you have a favorite charity or know of a community that is not being served? Email or tweet @discountdivasam.

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