by Jesse Doyle

Recently the MEN of the East Delavan community sponsored the 6th annual E.D.P day. It was a totally free event. The men raised close to $2000 in 19 days. The MEN spent EVERY DAM PENNY (EDP) for purpose over profit. The MEN provided hamburgers, hotdogs, sausages, huggies, pop, and waters throughout the entire day. At 3 p.m. the MEN handed out 120 full book bags to the community youth from kindergarten to college.

We thought it was important to not just hand these young people a book bag and they walk away. We also chose ten children we are going to track for this entire upcoming school year. If they have perfect attendance and no trouble, they will get a generous present every marking period. There will be random phone calls to check in with the children. We thought it was important for us to bring each child to the microphone and talk about the upcoming school year. We set the entire day up for MEN to serve the food, MEN to hand each child a book bag, MEN to speak to each child at the microphone about the upcoming school year. The MEN also served full fried chicken dinners at 4 p.m. Nothing against our community women. But we thought it was important for MEN to take their place and show the children the importance of MEN being the provider, MEN providing direction, MEN on one accord, and MEN making them feel safe at the park. We ended the evening with fireworks  to pay tribute to the brothers and sisters we lost along the way.

In order for my readers to understand why this event was so important, take a walk with me. As a child I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s on Schuele Street in the East Delavan community. At that time we had White neighbors on both sides of our home and across the street. A mixed community full of family and homeowners. Every household had the same last name. The Doyle’s, the Walker’s, the Martins, the Lott’s, the Ivey’s, the Green’s, the Jackson’s, etc. It was a time businesses were thriving. We had Wilson Farms, Scotties, the rec, Woodys, JVs, the Mini Mall, Mike’s records, drug stores, Avon’s, Churches Chicken, School 23, etc.

Then the late 80’s, early 90’s came. Boom! Crack hit like someone dropped a small bomb in an entire community. Crack hit every household in my community. Either you were buying or selling. Strong families were left in the rubble. Fist fights became murder. Childhood friends were  meeting in prison. The word neighborhood was destroyed and now we just go with “the hood.” The businesses mysteriously were burning down one at a time. Men left their households desiring more than one woman and one family.

BUT through it all a crew from the community rose up from the ashes. A crew standing strong, living for purpose over profit. A crew that meets every year to revive a community and laugh with old friends. A crew that’s focused on our young people. That crew is the mighty EDP! We’re  just getting started.

We want to thank our co-sponsors that donated ALL the school supplies. The Grub and Groove Soul Food Lounge, 1210 Broadway, President of No More Tears Tina Sanders, and Chairwoman of the  Erie County Legislature- April Baskin.