When 2020 started, who would have thought we would be where we are right now. A nation crippled by a virus. Countless people are affected by this either by knowing a person with the virus, having school at home, having to cancel graduations and activities, having hours cut at work, or worse, loss of employment and the list goes on. Through it all God isn’t absent and we at Steps see this as a perfect opportunity for us to step out and be the church and help meet the needs of those that may be struggling at this time. We want to share what we’re doing and to also highlight two other ministries in the Seneca-Babcock community that are being the church right alongside us.
One of the biggest hurdles for neighborhood families that we’ve seen is difficulty in transportation. Many families don’t have vehicles making it a lot harder for them to take advantage of resources available.
Another big difficulty has been unemployment. Many families have faced the loss of jobs and many have not been able to access government unemployment. Especially those who work in building trades have taken a hard hit. Anything that we can do to ease up financial pressures has been a huge blessing. That’s why we wanted to put together this report. To show how the ministries of Seneca-Babcock have met the needs.
We have a food pantry where twice a month we give a dozen families bags of food to help them through the week. We put together the bags of groceries and deliver them to their doors to help with transportation.
Youth group has changed a lot but the team feels that it’s a really important time to stay connected and continue to share the message of the gospel with the teens. Each week Ben and Aaron put together a video teaching that is texted to each family. You can see an example of one of the videos here.
Alongside this we make phone calls to each member of the youth group every week just to check in. On Fridays we have a Zoom call so that youth can see our faces.
In May, because of a generous donation from Buffalo Dream Center, over 40 families in the Seneca Babcock community were served six grocery bags each at our ministry center. Every family that came was offered prayer and over half received prayer with gratitude!
Seneca Gospel Mission & Promise Valley
Seneca Gospel Mission is a ministry on Elk street that we partner with for our Jesus Kids program. They have an urban farm ministry called the Promise Valley Farm.
They have expanded their farm and are busy growing fresh produce that will be used to give out for free to neighborhood families. It’s a difficult time to get hold of fresh food with transportation issues and restrictions at grocery stores. This is going to be a real blessing to families in the neighborhood especially in mid-Summer when harvest starts.
Find out more at senecagospelmission.org
Seneca Street UMC and CDC
Seneca Street UMC and CDC is located right across the street from Steps. Inside the building of the Methodist Church there is a non-profit called the CDC (Community Development Corporation). They provide after school programs to many neighborhood kids.
Pastor Dee, Cheryl and the CDC team have been working hard to take care of their flock during the Covid-19 pandemic. One thing that started off very early on were the weekly dinners distributed to anybody who had need. These have continued and they’ve expanded to two times a week on Sundays and Wednesdays. This has been a great resource to neighborhood families. Before distributing the meals Pastor Dee prays for the people.
Here are a few other initiatives:
- Helped facilitate every child in the program having access to a tablet/laptop and free internet
- Picked up 25-30 school lunches three times a week for families that don’t have transportation
- Socially distanced bible chat
- Training in sewing homemade masks
Find out more at senecastreet.org
How you can help
We encourage you to stay connected to what’s happening in the City of Buffalo. Here are some ways to support what these ministries are doing:
>> Steps – non-perishable pantry goods (ex. cereal/oatmeal, rice/pasta, personal care items etc.)
>> Seneca Gospel Mission & Promise Valley – Volunteer in early July to help distribute fresh produce to neighborhood families
>> Seneca Street United Methodist Church – Paper good donations
Please be in prayer for our neighborhood as each ministry is beginning reopening plans of various kinds.