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Making a difference: A Buffalo rapper steps up, the generosity of M&T and Noco and art all around

A Buffalo success story – personally and professionally – hasn’t forgotten where he came from. Rapper Conway the Machine, a.k.a. Demond Price, reached into his pocket to help some of the city’s most desperate people by way of one of Buffalo’s best-known businesses.

Price, who grew up in a rough neighborhood and miraculously survived what could easily have been a fatal gunshot wound, gave back to Buffalo last week by delivering La Nova pizzas to the City Mission, including both the men’s and women’s homeless shelters. Other in-need families and Buffalo’s essential workers also benefited from the rapper’s generosity.

And he wasn’t done. Conway was afflicted with Bell’s palsy after the shooting so it was a natural for him to help Alanna Bell of Amherst celebrate her 11th birthday. He planned to visit Alanna, who recently contracted Bell’s palsy, and donate to her drive-by party, which is, in fact, a food drive for FeedMore WNY. He also helped provide NFTA workers with coffee, doughnuts and bagels.

Cheers to Conway and cheers – and a happy birthday – to Alanna.

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One of Buffalo’s great summer pleasures is M&T Bank’s lunchtime concert series, held every weekday on the plaza in front of the bank’s Main Street headquarters. Sadly but necessarily, M&T has canceled this year’s concerts because of the coronavirus pandemic. But it will offer an alternative.

The “Plaza (At Home) Event Series,” featuring videos of longtime and newer performers, will begin in early June in collaboration with the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. The bank is also donating $10,000 to the Hall of Fame.

It’s won’t be the same, of course, but it will help take the sting out of the loss. Like the concert series, it’s a gift from M&T to Buffalo.

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And speaking of lost traditions: Rather than let thousands of Girl Scout cookies go to waste, the employees of Noco Energy Corp. ponied up enough donations – that were matched by company president James Newman – to buy more than 600 boxes of cookies. Along with 600 gallons of milk from Upstate Farms, they were donated to FeedMore WNY, the Kevin Guest House and the Tiger’s Den Food Pantry. That’s pulling together.

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Anyone who needs a diversion from the grind of social distancing has something new to consider as artists in Buffalo, Snyder, Tonawanda, Kenmore and West Falls display works outside of area homes and two galleries through Sunday. The locations of the 22 sites and an interactive map can be found at Art to the rescue.

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