BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — With the one-year anniversary of the Tops mass shooting just three weeks away, one victim’s family is planning a special event to honor her life of service.
Those who knew Pearl Young say she was a stranger to no one.
The 77-year-old was known for her charisma and giving heart. And come Saturday, her family will give back to the community, as she did for so many years.
Pearl Young’s niece said church meant everything to the mother of three.
Michelle Fryson wants people to remember her aunt Pearl for her life of service and not the May 14 tragedy that took her.
That’s why Pearl’s family and church are teaming up for a food giveaway on April 29.
Bishop Glenwood Young, of the Good Samaritan Church of God in Christ, was Pearl’s brother-in-law and pastor.
“We want to invest something back in her memory and what better way to do it than through the people in need?” said Bishop Young. “With the cooperation of some other stores, they would donate”
The church is now in Cheektowaga but was originally on Leroy Avenue in Buffalo.
That’s exactly where the food giveaway is planned to take place.
“She would serve soup,” added Bishop Young. “So some of the ideas came up, why not do that for the public and give them something.”
The giveaway will be held on an empty piece of land at 266 Leroy Avenue from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The same piece of land that’s proposed to one day be the Pearl Young Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry.
“One thing about her was that she loved to talk,” said Fryson. “She was indeed a people person. She knew no strangers. She opened her home to everyone, not just Black people. But, she opened her home to everyone who needed help with her respite care. She was just that person and I know that that would make her heart happy.”
Fryson hopes that the giveaway is a vehicle for dinner table conversations about tough issues.
“Take the bags of food and go sit down and make a meal with your families and have a conversation about what it looks like for all of us to be equal,” added Fryson. “And what it means to embrace difference and with that difference, knowing that we can all get along as neighbors.”
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Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.