A Special Christmas in Buffalo

21 Dec

In a city which is host to tens of thousands of families who struggle to get by each and every day, it takes thousands of unnoticed random acts of kindness to keep it all together. Trite? Not by a long shot.

St Luke’s Mission of Mercy is a headquarters of hope on Buffalo’s East Side. Earlier this month, we visited St. Luke’s to see how their efforts were making a difference in their community this Holiday season.

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Each person who contributes in small, meaningful ways provides the glue which keeps this struggling community together.   So often, their efforts are overlooked because of a bigger, presumably more important story.   These people don’t contribute to charities or help those who are less fortunate in order to garner news coverage or even a thank you.   They do it because it’s the right thing to do and because they love their community and the people in it.

Michele Johnson is one of those people.  If you know Michele, you’re a better person because of it.   She is an asset to this city and she has touched the lives of so many with her grace, generosity and dignity.

In memory of her beloved son James, who passed away tragically in January of 2009 at the age of 24, she and her friends put together nearly 200 Christmas Stockings for kids at St. Luke’s Church in Buffalo.  Each stocking is filled with some warm socks or mittens, a small toy, a candy cane and a gift card.   For many kids, it’s the only Christmas present they’ll get this year.

She uses our site, Facebook, SpeakUpWNY, Twitter, email, and the phone to rally people to the aid of those in need during Christmas and all year round.  The beauty of Buffalo and WNY is that there are thousands of Michele Johnsons doing the very same thing.  I single her out because she is the reason I feel a very special Christmas spirit this year and she is one of my closest, most dear friends.  Meeting someone like Michele who gives so much of herself can change your life for the better, it certainly changed mine.

Last year, we shot this video of her and her friends bringing Easter baskets to the children of St. Luke’s.

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Bringing a moment of joy to children is a beautiful thing. If you have the time or resources, there are so many organizations which need your help this year, please consider helping out with donations of food, gifts, gently used clothes, warm coats, mittens, hats, and boots to the Buffalo City Mission, The Matt Urban Hope Center, Friends of The Night People, or any of the other hundreds of organizations in the city which help the less fortunate.

Learn more about St. Luke’s:

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7 Responses to “A Special Christmas in Buffalo”

  1. Tracy Diina December 21, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    The world needs more Michele Johnsons! Great article.

  2. Christina Abt December 21, 2010 at 2:41 pm #

    Chris…thanks so much for bringing Michele and St. Luke’s to the forefront…esp as we go into these final days of Christmas. Our community has so much to be thankful for with people and places like these taking care of those in need.

  3. Estabon December 21, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    Michele is one of those people that gives me hope for humanity. It is rare to see someone so selfless.

  4. michaelrcaputo December 22, 2010 at 8:21 am #

    And, for good measure – Carl Paladino is the largest contributor to St. Luke’s and has been since 1995. He and one other donor share the total costs for the children’s school. This is actually the organization that gave Carl his “Dignity Corps” idea: putting people back to work, just like Amy and St. Luke’s.

    Admire St. Luke’s? Then contribute! They sure deserve it, especially during the Holidays when they are doubly busy.

    (You guys have far more in common with Carl than you would ever admit, Chris!)

  5. wcp December 22, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    Michele is the best! Thanks for the story.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. WNYmedia.net: A Special Christmas in Buffalo | Broadway Fillmore Alive - December 21, 2010

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