Good Neighbors: Turning Trash Into Treasure

We're seeing a lot of positive change right now in Buffalo, and it's not all coming from big companies and billionaires. One man who lives on the East Side is dedicating every day of his retirement to making Buffalo a better place to live.

Glenwood Block Club President Larry Williams has his own motto. He says, "you don't need to be rich- you just need a pair of gloves and a made up mind." And that is just one of the reasons why he's a good neighbor.

Retirement for Larry Williams is anything but restful and relaxing. Any given day you'll find him handing out stuff to neighbors- stuff that he first gets donated to him by companies like Home Depot.

"I think it's phenomenal what he's doing in the community. I'm a small piece of it. I'm just a vehicle for him to get things done, but he does a great job with it," said Elmwood Ave. Home Depot manager David Flynn.

On the day 2 On Your Side interviewed Williams, he was collecting a dozen bags of mulch donated by Home Depot. The bags were damaged and not sellable, but perfectly fine for residents who needed them. Williams gave them to the Elmwood Village Beautification Committee, whose organizer was a few bags short of completing a garden project.

"It was ultimately my responsibility and Larry took that stress away because what we're receiving today, completes our garden. So we're very happy," said Barbara O'Brien.

"Even though our homes are not as expensive as the homes on Bidwell, they're still our neighbors," said Williams.

Brick by brick, Williams is building a better Buffalo.

And bricks were donated to Williams, too. He recruited volunteers to use the donated bricks to build a new patio for East Side resident Babara Ridgeway.

"He just knows everything and everybody," Ridgeway said of Williams. "He's just a great guy."

Williams also worked to change his own neighborhood, starting with having the city tear down crack houses. He built a community garden in their spot. The vegetables grown there are donated to senior citizens, and Williams said it seems the flowers change the mood of the neighborhood.

"At one time we had Crypts on one end and Bloods on the other. They're all gone, because we just persistently said no. We're going to keep on fighting. We want our neighborhoods to be neighborhoods we can be proud of," Williams said. "We are trying to be the city of good neighbors."

Mr. Williams is always looking for donations, and right now he specifically needs flowers and a pick-up truck. If you can help, call Larry Williams at (716) 465-3153.

If you know a good neighbor who's story you'd like told, e-mail Melissa Holmes at or tweet her @2MelissaHolmes.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment