“We Are Better Together!” Alex Wright is Catalyst for Ground Breaking Fundraising Campaign January 31 – February 5 to Support Black Led Organizations in Buffalo

Bettertogetherbuffalo.org pictured above From Left: Allison DeHonney, Gail V. Wells, Alex Wright, Ruthie Lloyd, Journee Robinson  (photo by street legacy photos Darvin Adams )

Alex Wright, founder of the African Heritage Food Co-op, is  the catalyst for the development of  a grounding breaking effort  with the Bills and Sabres Foundations which highlights five  Black led organizations that are changing health care and food systems on the eastside of Buffalo. 

The initiative, called “Better Together,”   is  a fund raising campaign which will take place during Black History Month (January 31 – February 5) to develop awareness and promote health and wellness in Buffalo communities hit hardest by the COVID virus. 

It’s patterned after the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres Foundations successful “Give 716”; a community wide day of online giving designed to familiarize fans with nonprofit organizations across Western New York and give them  the opportunity to support them and increase their funding.    

The idea for “Better Together” – designed to foster collective work and responsibility during these trying times – came out of a conversation with Alex,  Michelle Roberts, Executive Director, Buffalo Bills Foundation and Rich Jureller, VP of Community Relations President of the Buffalo Sabres Foundation  regarding a renovation of his second co-op. 

During that meeting Wright  expressed a desire to replicate the success of the Give 716 campaign but instead of a massive outreach across the region he thought why not plan a fund raising campaign   during Black History Month targeting a limited number of non-profit Black led organizations?  These particular organizations, he pointed out,  are working around a shared issue that could become a catalyst for revitalization and self sufficiency in a community  which has long suffered  inequities in the  food and health care  systems .

To help drive home the important work of the organizations participating in the “Better Together” campaign,  is the 2022 theme for Black History Month,   which is “Black Health and Wellness!” 

A perfect fit for a noble cause! 

Better Together: From Left: Michelle Roberts Executive Director, Buffalo Bills Foundation ; Alex Wright, African Heritage Food Co-op; Rich Jureller, VP of Community Relations, President of the Buffalo Sabres Foundation

Here’s how it works.

The Bills and Sabres organization has created a marketing campaign that highlights each participating organization .    Using the link: Bettertogetherbuffalo.org anyone can donate to one or all of the participating groups from January 31st – February 5th.

As a special thank you, each donor will receive a free pin created by celebrated artist Edreys Wajed  depicting what he coins, the “Humble Hero” – which is the logo for the Better Together initiative.  Everyone involved in “Better Together” is indeed a humble hero!

The five  following organizations –  brought together under the umbrella of “Better Together”  -all share the mission   to reduce food insecurity and chronic disease for those living in areas with high rates of COVID .  

 

The African Heritage Food Co-op.  Founded by Alex Wright in 2016,  the Heritage. Food Co-op was created to combat  hunger in WNY using the motto, “ Anything less than ownership is unacceptable.” Wright  also founded Blegacy farms with the purchase of a 22 acre farm in Franklinville, NY where disenfranchised Black community members with little access to healthy foods can farm, sell crops to the co-op and feed themselves and their families. He is opening his second co-op location in the Fruitbelt community and is currently raising funds to complete a major renovation of a historic building that was donated to him.

Buffalo Go Green.  Allison Dehonney founded Buffalo Go Green  in 2014 to provide services and training to underserved populations throughout WNY. Concerned about the lack of quality nutritious food in the inner city,  Allison created  “Urban Fruits and Veggies” a Black- owned urban farm located in Buffalo, NY. Using the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child,” Allison is working on “Bailey Green” that will feature hydroponic green houses, a fruit tree orchard, a café, and green market with upper level apartments to address food insecurity. Allison is actively engaged in raising monies for these projects. Bailey Green is scheduled to break ground soon.

Buffalo Freedom Gardens, founded by Gail V. Wells in 2020 is using the proverb, “Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day, teach a person to fish and you feed them for a lifetime” to deal with food apartheid in Buffalo, NY. Using an extensive network of volunteers and partners, Freedom Gardens splacedgardens in the backyards of Buffalo residents living in communities with the highest COVID rates. There is a waiting list of over 300 families who want a garden. Since it’s inception Freedom Gardens has given out 88 gardens plus  provided gardening, cooking and nutritional education. Every gardener receives a cedar bed based on their needs (there are elevated beds for seniors and those with disabilities), along with gardening tools, PPE equipment, organic plant and seeds and high quality soil. Freedom Gardens is focusing on expanding their services and currently looking for offices in the African American Heritage Corridor.

Buffalo Center for Health and Equity is led by Rita Hubbard. The Center is working on the  elimination of race, economic and geographic based health inequities in WNY by changing the social and economic conditions that causes illness and shortens lives among the sickest in the region. Concentrating on the zip codes with the highest rates of chronic disease, the Buffalo Center for Health Equity collaborates with the other participating organizations. 

REACH is the acronym for Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health and is led by Ruthie Lloyd. REACH is centering their work on the Ferry Street Health and Wellness initiative. This comprehensive initiative has a three point strategy for encouraging preventive health practices;  tobacco free living;   increasing referrals and access to community based health centers;  consumption of nutritious which includes breast feeding.  

Please join us in this fundraising effort. And share the link! Bettertogetherbuffalo.org