For the past 38 years Little Portion Friary, located at 1305 Main Street, has had a mission to journey with the homeless, providing temporary shelter, meals and counseling, with the overall goal to provide support to homeless men and women as they transition into new lives full of possibility and hope. All that changed in mid-March with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, as Little Portion Friary temporarily closed its doors.
On Sept. 8, Little Portion Friar will open its doors once again. Many wish it were much sooner since the need for services is so high and is expected to spike in the upcoming months as more evictions unfold. Little Portion Friary has been staffed entirely by volunteers, a majority of whom are over 60, which puts them at a higher risk for developing Covid-19. This is exacerbated by the increased risk that persons experiencing homelessness face which creates a situation where two vulnerable segments of the population are in close, sustained contact. This is why LPF was forced to close down even though the volunteers wanted very badly to stay open. They are eager to reopen so they can serve the Buffalo community once again, by providing food, shelter, encouragement and support to thousands of homeless men and women each year. They are now seeking help from the community and asking for volunteers.
Volunteers are also asked to practice universal infection control precautions:
• Clean and wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds before, during and after volunteering
• If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
• Avoid physical contact with others and maintain a social distance of 6 feet
• Sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
Guests usually stay 10-12 weeks while they save up for a place to live. They are given a sense of personal involvement in a home-like setting, participating in daily chores, eating their meals together and sharing recreation space. Volunteer social workers (LSW) meet regularly with each guest, helping to set goals as each takes the necessary steps on a journey to a more stable lifestyle. Unfortunately, there is a constant need for services. Little Portion Friary is forced to turn anywhere from five to 25 homeless individuals away each and every day.