BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A man known for leading the anti-crime movement in Buffalo is trying out a new approach to getting young people off the streets by setting them up with jobs.
It's barely a blip on Buffalo's economic development radar screen, but Buckeye's Chicken on the site of a former fast food restaurant has created 24 new jobs for young people. The owner says it is a dream come true after sitting on the back burner for almost a year.
For these young people, Buckeye's Chicken is teaching them job skills and putting a paycheck in their pocket, which seems to be in dangerously short supply in their neighborhoods.
"If you take away the need, then you are taking away an opportunity to do crime, and the need is money. So by giving people a job is taking away the need for money," said Bishop Perry Davis.
Bishop Davis is also president of the Stop the Violence Foundation, which has been searching for answers to Buffalo's epidemic of violent street crime. Jaemal Siplin says amen to that.
Siplin said, "You've got to work these days. You don't work, you don't eat. That's how it is, you don't work, you don't eat. If you could do something else, you are going to be in bars, so that is how it goes."
Buckeye's Chicken morphed from a former fast food chicken restaurant on Michigan Street, whose servings were said to be finger licking good. The new crew calls their offerings eye popping good, and it's more than just chicken.
Gina Davis said, "We have gator tail, here. We have Cajun, we have black beans and rice with shrimp, we have a lot of great things. We also do specials where we serve some time, creole shrimp."
Common Councilmember Darius Pridgen, who operates a fast food restaurant in his east side church, says the Ellicott District, which includes downtown and parts of the east side, needs more of this kind of innovation.
Rev. Pridgen said, "Because we have the wealthiest people, and the people in most poverty, living in the same district, but the two never meet. There is never a conversation between the business folks and the unemployed folks, for the unemployed people to hear from the business people what is going to be needed!"
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