Volunteer Opportunity: Urban Diner

Our Matt Urban Hope Center’s Urban Diner serves a fresh, healthy meal to residents free of charge on weekdays. We are looking for volunteers to help with food preparation (10:00AM to 1:30PM) and diner service (1:30PM to 4:30PM). Due to social distancing requirements, we cannot accommodate large groups for volunteering at this time.
Those interested in volunteering can contact Sarah Maurer at smaurer@urbanctr.org or (716) 893-7222 x232.

Remembering Earl Blacksheare

The Matt Urban Center suffered a tremendous loss with the recent passing of Mr. Earl Blacksheare.
Earl was the heart and soul of our Hope Center, where he worked for over a decade, performing intake with clients and making referrals to get them connected with the resources they needed. Earl’s big booming voice was the first people heard when they called the Hope Center, and his was the first face they saw when they came in for services. Earl was a bright light for many, helping guide them to the programs and services that they needed to improve their situations, whether it was assistance finding housing, benefits, or a hot meal.
Not only did Earl have a tremendous positive impact on those who came to the Hope Center for help – he also made a lasting impression on the people he worked with every day. Some of our staff shared their remembrances of Earl, in honor of his memory and their time spent working alongside him.
Earl was part of our family. Although you don’t come to work to gain friends, you kind of become family and learn to depend on them for a lot of different things. Earl left a blueprint for us and how we should treat people. We’re just going to miss him.
-Kevin Glover
Every day for the last 4 and a half plus years, I’ve walked past Earl at his desk. We always had a very similar exchange when he first got to work for the day.
“Hey Earl, how’s it going?”
“I’m just groovy man, just groovy.”
“Groovy!”
I’ve missed that exchange every single day since he’s been gone. I remind myself every time I walk past his desk that Earl is “just groovy man, just groovy.”
Earl always knew it was me walking by because he always said I was running through the Hope Center, and that I moved too fast and didn’t know how to slow down. But if I was wearing a different pair of shoes compared to normal, he would stop me and ask me what I had on my feet. He was used to me wearing sneakers and being fairly quiet when I walked past him, but when winter crept in and I switched to boots, I had a whole new sound. He’d ask me to describe what I had on my feet to him so that way he could associate that sound with me coming up the hallway in my boots.  
-Skylar Diamond
Earl always said “Good morning Melly Mel” and this was when I was walking into the building from behind him. I always wondered how he knew it was me before I even spoke to him or said anything. He will be greatly missed at Polonia Hall.
-Patricia Chism-Melvin
I didn’t work directly with Earl every day, and most of my interaction was over the phone, but even with calls that had no easy answer he was up for the challenge and ready to assist in any way. We’d often hang up with no real solution, only for my phone to ring a few minutes later with a bit more information that would point me in the right direction. You could hear his smile through every call.
-Maya Shermer
Earl was such a kind, sincere person, and that came out in every interaction I had with him – from those phone calls where he would reach out seeking information for a client, but always made sure to take a few moments to find out how I was doing, or when I would say farewell on my way out of the Hope Center and he would say “alright Sarah, you take care and be safe out there.” The Hope Center and the Matt Urban Center as a whole was made a better place because of Earl’s presence.
-Sarah Maurer

Volunteer At Home Opportunity

Looking to give back during the holidays? Assembling personal essentials kits for our Hope Center is a COVID-safe way to volunteer on your own time!
We’ve partnered with the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County’s Family Volunteer Season program to get more folks involved in volunteering while staying safe amidst the pandemic. Any number of kits donated is greatly appreciated and will go to good use in our Hope Center’s personal essentials pantry.
Visit uwbec.org/family-volunteer-day for instructions on how to assemble the kits and info on how to get them to us.
Questions? Email our Development Director, Sarah Maurer, at smaurer@urbanctr.org.

Hope Center Now Assisting Residents With Rent and Mortgage Assistance Applications

The Matt Urban Hope Center, located at 385 Paderewski Drive, will be assisting residents with processing their documentation to apply for Live Well Erie and City of Buffalo Cares Act Rental and Mortgage Assistance, from now through November 25.

This program will provide temporary rent and mortgage assistance to individuals who were unable to pay their rent or mortgage due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All residents must first call 2-1-1 to verify their eligibility for this program. Once deemed eligible, residents may contact our Hope Center staff to set up an appointment to submit their documentation. We cannot accept walk-in clients at this time due to COVID-19 restrictions at our facility, so an appointment is suggested to ensure timely assistance. Please call (716) 893-7222 x310 to set an appointment.

Residents must come to the appointment with all required documents.  A list of required documents is available at http://www.211wny.org/resources/erie-county-covid-19-rent-relief/

Note that our Hope Center is following all New York State COVID-19 guidelines and a face mask is required in order to enter the facility.

To learn more about this program, please visit www.211wny.org

Hope Center Urban Diner Re-Opening

After a long closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are thrilled to announce that our Urban Diner at the Matt Urban Hope Center will be re-opening for to-go operations on Monday, September 21!
All meals will be distributed outside the front entrance of our Hope Center at 385 Paderewski Drive. A mask is required and we will have markers on the sidewalk to assist with social distancing requirements. We encourage families to send one member to pick up on behalf of their household. Distribution of the grab-and-go meals will run Monday through Friday, from 2:00-5:00 p.m. or until meals run out.
Please contact Cherise Carson, Hope Center Coordinator, at 716-893-7222 x329 for more information.

Donation Spotlight: Cricket Wireless

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Miss Joy Smith and her team from Cricket Wireless at 1105 Broadway for their incredibly generous donation of food items for our Hope Center pantry! The Cricket crew delivered a carload of groceries to our Paderewski location earlier this week. We’re so grateful to have neighboring businesses who give back to our community!

Hope Center Food Pantry Re-Opening 8/4

We’re excited to be kicking off the month of August by re-opening our Food Pantry at the Matt Urban Hope Center!

The pantry will re-open on Tuesday, August 4 and will be open weekly on Tuesdays from 11:30AM to 3:30PM.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, pantry clients will be served outside in front of the main entrance at 385 Paderewski. Clients will be asked to provide their name, address and phone number. Bags will be pre-packed, so client choice of some items may be limited.

Please contact Cherise Carson, Hope Center Coordinator, at 716-893-7222 x329 for more information.

Summer Camp Applications Now Available!

Summer Camp Alert! The Matt Urban Center’s Youth Department is now accepting applications for our Summer Camp! Our summer camp can help ensure your children stay on track academically, socially and emotionally by providing much needed resources! Social Emotional Coordinators and Certified Teachers are on staff with programming ready!

Applications are available online (due to questions required and formatting, cannot be completed with a cell phone) or stop by one of the locations below to pick up  to pick up an application. We look forward to seeing you!

129 Lewis Street between 8:00 am -4:00 pm, ring bell for service
– 1081 Broadway: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm, available in front lobby

Now Accepting Applications for Essential Workers Summer Camp!

Are you an essential worker? Do you have children? If so, we may be able to help!

The Matt Urban Center’s Youth Program is proud to support our fellow Essential Workers and present our Essential Workers Summer Camp! Parents who are Essential Workers can choose from one of two camps that are available. We have enlisted some of the best teachers from the BPS district to help us provide high quality academic programming in each camp. As an added bonus, we have beefed up our enrichment activities! Your child will have tons of fun participating in our art, cooking, physical and STEM activities this summer.

We are currently accepting applications to both camps on a first come, first served basis, until filled or before the following deadlines: Camp I – Wednesday, July 1, 2020; Camp II – Wednesday, July 20, 2020

For more information, email Danyel Sease or Justin Larke or call (716)  893-7222 x401. We hope to see you soon!