BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — For eight days, volunteers from all over the country will put their paintbrushes and hammers to work, giving homes around Buffalo’s East Side some extra love.
The outreach started on Saturday, were dozens of volunteers painted Lincoln Park, and helped residents that live around the Fillmore District.
“The expenses of everything is so high,” said Ruby Nelson, a resident who had her house painted by the organization, “I think it’s great, excellent.”
For some volunteers, like Deborah Doucette who traveled in from LaPlace Louisiana, it’s all about paying it forward.
When Hurricane Ida hit, it left her home in despair. She says she prayed for help at her local church and one day Eight Days of Hope came to lend a hand. She traveled to Buffalo saying it’s her turn to give back.
“I call them my angels.” said Deborah Doucette. “It’s been awesome just connecting with everybody, it’s been great it’s an amazing program.”
Eight Days of Hope was started by Stephen Tybor and his father 17 years ago. After Hurricane Katrina hit Mississippi, Tybor brought 700 volunteers to the scene to help. Almost two decades later, they continue to help cities after destruction, and neighbors who need help.
Being from Western New York, Tybor returns back with the organization for the third time this week, knowing this year is important-now more than ever.
“The volunteers are passionate on serving the City of Buffalo,” Tybor said. “We’ve gone through so much in the City of Buffalo in the past two months, and this is a way for people who are passionate about serving others to come to Buffalo and use their gift. People are setting aside their differences and saying, ‘You know what? We’re going to love and serve families in need.'”
Over 1,000 local volunteers have already signed up to work alongside hundreds of volunteers who’ve traveled all over the country to help our community.
“Eight Days of Hope is going to be transforming lives and making sure they help the most vulnerable in the City of Buffalo,” said Mitch Nowakowski, Fillmore District Council member. “Eight Days of Hope is truly a wonderful organization that will lead to transformation in the Fillmore district.”
Volunteers will be painting houses, helping with landscaping, fixing roofs and porches, and even helping restoring Lincoln Park.
“This is an area that isn’t given the attention it deserves but I think people are really trying,” said Nicholas Reynolds, a Fillmore District resident. “There’s an overwhelming amount of work and it’s really great to see helping hands come and help the area in general.”
Reynolds is one of the hundreds of home owners that will receive help this week. He says it’s fantastic to have other people come help him with his roof, and his neighborhood.
To the organization, it’s more than just helping people in need — it’s about bringing the community together.
“I love that we might look different, but for these eight days, we’re going to come together and have one common goal of loving and serving these families,” Tybor said.