Volunteers decorate Walden-Sycamore neighborhood, spread holiday cheer

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BUFFALO, N.Y. – It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around the Walden-Seneca neighborhood in Buffalo, where about 150 volunteers spent their Saturday decorating homes for the holiday.

This was the 12th year for B Team Buffalo’s City of Light campaign.

“It’s just an opportunity to bring the holiday spirit to every corner of the city of Buffalo,” City of Light coordinator Liz Reaves told News 4.

“You’d be surprised what some decorations on your house can do for your spirit,” she added.

Wrapping, taping, and hanging garlands, the volunteers made quick work of their tasks at their first stop of the day Saturday, decking the halls and decorating about 35 doors at the Walden Park Senior Apartments.

Volunteers were also spreading holiday cheer to some of their youngest neighbors at the same time, with a carnival inside Harvey Austin Elementary.

The event featured everything from face painting to games to photo ops with super heroes and toy giveaways.

Organizers say they wanted to send an important message to the families who attended.

“I hope that they know that there’s people in Western New York that really care about this community and that they mean a lot to us,” Vanessa Gruber, Board Secretary for B Team Buffalo, said.

Saturday’s City of Light campaign really aimed to bring the entire community together, with a free community lunch, meals to take home, and a tree lighting ceremony.

Volunteers told News 4 it felt good to be part of the experience.

“It’s really nice to be able to give back to the community since in this day and age there’s not much of a sense of that,” said Frederick Law Olmsted School senior Abuk Majok as she helped decorate the senior apartments building Saturday. “Being out in the community like this, there’s really a sense of togetherness.”

The City of Light campaign brings volunteers from all walks of life together, too.

B Team Buffalo, a civic organization led by young professionals, has teamed up with other non-profits and school groups for 12 years now to make this all possible.

“I’m just so happy to have wonderful, fantastic students that come and spend their mornings volunteering in the community,” said Jackie Mazzone, an Olmsted School teacher who was working alongside her students to decorate.

It’s a cause that’s easy to get behind.

There are challenges, physical and financial, that make it difficult for some community members to get in on the full festive fun of decorating their homes for the holidays. But, the decorations do make a big difference for them.

“It adds a lot of quality of life,” said Floyd Roberson, one of the residents of the Walden Park Senior Apartments. “It keeps the morale up. You see people out more often.”

The volunteers were all too happy to help, showing Buffalo truly is the city of good neighbors and the City of Light.

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