BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Mark Talley is the son of Geraldine Talley, who was killed in the racist Tops mass shooting on Jefferson Avenue. Since that horrific May 14th day, he’s made it his mission to help his community in any way.

Geraldine’s family remembers her love of cooking. That’s why Mark partnered with community groups to give away free Thanksgiving meals to East and West Side residents in her memory.

“If I was able to help out one person over here, it definitely means a lot to me,” Talley said.

“It’s amazing, you know,” Talley added. “Once you see the community all come out, just taking everything that you have, knowing that you were able to help an individual, a person, a family. You know, in their time of need, especially now.”

Talley said with the help of Friends of Night People and Open Buffalo, about 700 people walked away with a Thanksgiving meal. At the Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Library, those in need were also given blue bags of non-perishables and donated clothing.

Talley told us he started his organization, Agents of Advocacy, in memory of his mother. He plans to organize life skill classes that those in underserved areas of the city don’t have access to.

“I didn’t want to be lost in my thoughts at home following the week after 5/14. So, I just figured, you know, I see all of these organizations on Jefferson,” said Talley. “If they can do this, I figured how I have a direct correlation to the incident, I should be able to do that and kind of block out my mind.”

Open Buffalo provided much of the donated food.

Devon Patterson is their director of community engagement.

“My family came from poverty, so to be in a position where I can help alleviate some people and just make one person’s day better — it means the world to me,” Patterson said.

Talley and Patterson say serving their community is an honor.

They encourage anyone who is in need to get in touch with them.

For more information on Agents for Advocacy, click here.  

For more information on Open Buffalo, click here

New on WIVB.com

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.