BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Raw emotion is still being felt by many, one year since the Tops mass shooting. The focus has been on properly honoring the victims, the survivors, and their families.

A big focus has also been on helping people heal.

“We want everyone to come together, have conversations, heal together,” said Dwight Lowe, the founder and executive director of Home Beneath Our Feet. “You know there’s no blue print to healing with this massacre with this situation that we’re dealing with and trying to overcome.”

It all started as a sunny, peaceful day — as Home Beneath Our Feet was connecting dozens of volunteers to help our neighbors in need, tragedy struck just a few blocks away.

“One of our staff was heading out to get some more food for the grill, we had a barbecue going as well,” Lowe said. “It was a community event. We were running out of hot dogs, hamburgers and the staff was going out to get some extra food from the Tops. I received a phone call, ‘Hey I hear something going on in there. I think I hear shots.'”

In response to the racist attack that took 10 innocent lives from our community on 5/14, one year later, the organization has a new idea blooming — bringing the community together to heal.

“Life is like a variety,” Lowe said. “When we’re talking inclusive when we bring plants together, all different sizes, all different colors but when it all comes together to create one expression. And that’s how i feel with the community, with everyone coming together on one accord to express that they’re feelings are one accord.”

The idea sparked an all-inclusive sensory garden, which offers fruits, vegetables, and herbs to the community for free.

“The sensory garden is for healing circles,” Lowe said. “It’s for educational purposes to learn about plants and how plants heal, it’s for reading, for when you want to hang out and just read a book. It’s just a platform to bring you back to simplicity.”

As the herbs grow and the flowers bloom, the garden will continue to grow itself, with the help of the community.

They’re collecting ideas and funds, as they hope to open a greenhouse one day, to provide free produce all year round. To donate to Home Beneath Our Feet’s sensory garden GoFundMe, click here.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.