Terry and Kim Pegula, the owners of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres, are donating at least $1.2 million to help the region respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pegula Sports and Entertainment, in coordination with the Bills and Sabres team foundations, will provide financial assistance to local nonprofit agencies, to families at risk of going hungry and to first responders.
"While we don’t yet know the scope of the pandemic, we wanted to ensure that we were able to give some immediate assistance to those in need and those fighting on the front lines," Kim Pegula, PSE's president and CEO, said in a statement. "We applaud the community relief fund and are proud that our foundations will join these community leaders in their efforts.”
The Pegulas said the money will go toward three main efforts, though they did not say precisely how the $1.2 million would be divided up:
• A contribution to the new Western New York Covid-19 Community Response Fund. It was formed on Tuesday by foundations including Ralph C. Wilson Jr., John R. Oishei, Wendt, M&T and others. A project of the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County and 17 other local foundations, it already has raised more than $4 million. The boards of both team foundations approved the allocations Wednesday.
• What is described as "a broad and ongoing commitment" to FeedMore WNY – formerly the Food Bank of WNY and Meals on Wheels for WNY – and the Rural Outreach Center in East Aurora. The organizations will use the aid to provide thousands of bags of groceries to underserved and out-of-work urban and rural families in this area.
• Unspecified support for first responders, hospital workers and nurses as well as badly needed supplies of protective and medical equipment.
“We realize we are in uncertain times as a nation and as a community,” Kim Pegula said. “Like many Western New Yorkers, we are faced with making difficult decisions, but we realize that focusing on the health and welfare of our community is what will get us through these difficult times.”
The coronavirus outbreak has upended the Pegulas' businesses in this area.
PSE last week announced it was closing most of its hospitality operations, including LECOM Harborcenter, and laying off an unknown number of workers for now.