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Selfless Among Us: Sister Nora's Beds For Kidz program

Sr. Nora Sweeney has helped deliver 250 bed packages to children in WNY to give them a safe and warm place to lay their heads at night.

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Cindy Seda admits she was "in a very bad place." 

The Niagara Falls mother of 7 was being evicted and on the brink of losing her children and becoming homeless when Sister Nora Sweeney stepped in.

"She came in like a bright light and I talked to her. She took me down to social services, bought us food, and she did everything," said Seda. "We had a safe home the same day we were going to get evicted." 

As a social worker for the past 14 years at Mount St. Mary's Neighborhood Health Center in Niagara Falls, Sister Nora has helped countless families like Seda's. 

"The more I visit I'm seeing we can't live like this, so I do what I can to assist them," said Sister Nora, a Daughter of Charity. 

Whether it's giving out food and personal care items, arranging a clothing drive and gift shop during the holidays, or providing free dental care for those in need, Sister Nora finds a way to help.

"She knows the right people to go to so that we can work with her behind the scenes and make real differences in the community," said CJ Urlaub, president of Mount St. Mary's Hospital.

One of the biggest needs she saw during home visits is something many take for granted: a bed.

"Our children are sleeping either with their parents, or they're sleeping on the floor, or they're sleeping on lawn chairs," she said.

Seda's children were sharing two queen beds in a motel room before moving into their own home. Once there, she didn't have any furniture including beds.

"I didn't have a pillow because I'd rather them have it and I didn't have a blanket because how am I going to keep warm when they're going to be cold," she said.

So with the help of a business and private donors, Sister Nora started a program called Beds 4 Kidz. And since 2019 they've delivered more than 250 beds, pillows, bedding and even a book for a bedtime story. "Just a Silly Little Caterpillar," by Uncle Brian, was written to inspire the child to follow their dreams and know their current struggles do not determine their future.

"It brings tears to my eyes, knowing I was able to help those in need," said Sister Nora.

Seda, who now works as a hotel housekeeper, and each one of her children were some of the first bed recipients.

"The first night all my kids were in heaven because they got their own little space," said Seda. "Sister Nora's my guardian angel."

To find out more about Beds For Kidz, contact Ashley Misko, Executive Director of the Mount St. Mary's Foundation at 716-298-2166 or Misko@chsbuffalo.org .

If you know someone who should be featured in the "Selfless Among Us" series, email Melissa.Holmes@wgrz.com . 

To see past "Selfless Among Us" stories, click the videos below.

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