‘We’re all one village’: Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Center lends a helping hand to neighbors in need

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — With their roots in the East Side of Buffalo, The Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Center says they have been helping lend a hand to neighbors who are facing life obstacles for more than 130 years.

“The goal was to be a helping hand, a friendly face to people that were struggling in a new environment,” said Chandra Redfern, CEO of the BFNC. “We hold true to our founding roots, and the settlement houses assisted the European Immigrants in acclimating the community, teaching them different life skills, helping them with job development, and offering social activities and the people that worked in the settlement houses were in the community.”

In 1981, two settlement houses, The Westminster Community House and the Neighborhood House Association decided to merge, which is now known as the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers.

“We’ve all had some life struggles at some point in time, and we could all use someone to walk alongside of us to help us navigate a path from where we are to where we would like to be and that’s exactly our mission here at BFNC,” said Redfern. “We offer services that help people address life issues. So whether people have financial needs, housing needs, maybe they are struggling with alcohol and substance abuse, or they are trying to work on their mental wellness, we can help address those issues.”

“Having all of these different services really make a difference,” said Daysi Ball, Director of the BFNC Hope Center. “A lot of times people feel that you’re going through something on your own and realizing that there’s help out there, and I think that’s one of the things we do as an agency.”

Over the years they’ve grown to offer free assistance programs, including wellness programs for older adults and their caregivers, financial support programs including financial education, wellness programs for older adults and their caregivers, youth programs, food assistance, and more. Click here to view their website.

They also hold many events throughout the year, including a “Hope and Healing” program on Thursday, Feb. 29, which will be a panel discussion and conversation about mental wellness in the black community.

“We want to educate people, we want to give them tools and resources but we want to make it more comfortable to have these types of conversations,” said Redfern. “We also want to be able to be a connector from a community, to perhaps, services partitioners, not just traditional clinics, but here are a variety of ways that people can work on their mental wellness.”

For more information on the “Hope and Healing” program, click here.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.

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