Friends of Night People to hold fund-raiser, bring awareness to surrounding communities
So, where are they to turn to for help?
Many have received support from Friends of Night People (FONP), Inc., a charitable organization since 1969 that provides food, including a hot meal daily, clothing, medical care, counseling, and hope to the poor, homeless and destitute in Buffalo. In addition, FONP can also help people link up with other services they maybe in need of, such as housing and legal assistance.
All services are provided free of charge without a sliding income scale. FONP is opened 365 days per year and provides services to men, women, and children of all ages. The organization is able to provide services primarily through donations from people in the community and volunteers from all over Western New York.
To bring awareness and raise money for the organization, FONP will be holding its third annual “Party for the People” fund-raiser from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19, at Karpeles Manuscript Museum, 453 Porter Ave., in Buffalo.
Lancaster resident and Executive Director of Friends of Night People, Inc., Joseph S. Heary, who has been with the organization for about five years, said the money raised will be used to support operations.
“This is our third annual and what it does is focuses on the populations we serve,” Heary said. “So, we try to make it a casual entertaining fun event while highlighting the groups that we serve. It brings awareness about the population we serve.”
Heary continued to say the FONP are hoping that the fund-raiser provides enough revenue to service a month of meals.
“We provide a meal in the evening seven nights a week at the downtown location and if we walked out with $4,000 or $5,000 that would be a good number. Everything we get goes back out,” added Heary.
The organization serves dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. every day at its main location, 394 Hudson St., in Buffalo. Also, meals are served from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the organization’s second location, 385 Paderewski Drive, in Buffalo; from 11:30 a.m. to 1p.m. Saturdays, at the Edward Saunders Community Center, 2777 Bailey Ave., in Buffalo; and from 3:30 to5 p.m. Thursdays, at the Salvation Army-Kensington Community Center, 21 Westminster Ave., in Buffalo.
Heary added so far this year they have served 39,541 people, which is a 24 percent increase compared to last year.
“The primarily reason they are here is because they just need a little extra help,” said Heary. “They are trying to stretch their money, paid their bills, provide for themselves and their family, and by helping with food. This is one of the ways we can make their life a little bit better.”
The evening will also include food which will be provided by The Whole Hog, there will be a magician, music entertainment, drinks, a basket auction, silent auction, and a speaker from Active Minds that will speak about mental health and homelessness.
“I think when you see people struggling it makes you realize how hard it would be each day to walk in their shoes and that generally they are just looking for help and respect and assistance to improve their situation,” said Heary.
Heary mentioned FONP are also in need of personal care items including shavers, soaps, lotions, shampoos, men’s socks, and in the winter time jackets, blankets, and boots, which can be dropped off at the Hudson Street location.
“The people we serve at Friends of Night People are going through a difficult period in their lives and we are here to help them with food and clothing provided by the Western New York community,” commented Heary,
Tickets are $25 per person and are still available for purchase. Tickets can be purchased by calling 884-5375 or by visiting www.friendsofnightpeople.com. Clothing or monetary donations are also welcomed at anytime.