Gerard Place opened in November of 2000. Through research they learned that the zip code 14215 (Bailey/Delevan area) was one of the poorest and a change needed to happen. Twelve congregations of the Women Religious in the Diocese of Buffalo created Gerard Place and currently serve on the Board.
The Gerard Place mission is to strengthen the community as it empowers individuals and families toward self-sufficiency by providing housing, supportive services community education and outreach. They live through the teachings of Jesus Christ and are rooted in the principles of compassion, reverence, integrity and collaboration.
When families come to Gerard Place they are placed in a fully furnished two bedroom apartment with security, laundry facilities, community/play area, exercise room and more. In addition to facilities, Gerard Place offers case management services, life skills classes and special events and activities to all the families. They help parents get their GED's and offer job readiness training classes. They help parents with babysitting services and provide numerous activities for the children including arts and crafts and Girl/Boy Scouts. (I can really keep going on all the services they provide...they do phenomenal work for the families they serve!)
Since opening the doors in 2000, Gerard Place has served over 150 families. One recent graduate's story really touched me! Jim and his two children Ava and Brianna graduated from Gerard Place in the Fall of 2011. Prior to Gerard Place, his children were in foster care and Jim was coping with a drug addiction and mental illness that began in his childhood. Without the help of Gerard Place, Jim said he would have never gotten his girls back from foster care. Jim is currently a sophomore in college with an outstanding 3.9 average and studying to be a radiation technician. He has a part-time job and has been clean and sober for over 3 years now. He has moved out of Gerard Place into his own housing and is enjoying raising his two girls.
There are so many other stories, and I wish I could list them all here. Gerard Place truly has helped change the lives of so many families in the WNY area.
In these economic hard times, the need for shelters and support is greater than ever. Director of Services Karen Kasperek said, "It is important for the community to know that there are programs, services and assistance in such an economically challenged time.
Gerard Place continues to lend a hand to anyone in need."
CALL TO ACTION!
When I spoke with Karen I had asked her if there were any items that were needed to help Gerard Place continue to provide such great services, and they are currently in need of many household items; furniture, night stands, crib sheets, vacuums, microwaves, brooms, mops, towels, TV’s, gift cards, household cleaners, household decorations, garbage cans, diapers(any size), school supplies, first aid kits, toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent, shower curtains, long window curtains, bar soap, curtain rods, pot & pans, box fans.
If you have the few dollars to spare or are trying to clean up the house and have gently used household items, please consider donating them to Gerard Place.
Gerard Place is located at: 2515 Bailey Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14215. You can reach them by phone at 716-897-9948.
You can find them online at: www.gerardplace.org.