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Local businesses finding creative ways to support Western New York communities of color

Some are donating money, while others are trying to help provide free counseling services.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Small business owners here in Western New York are doing their part to support people of color in the area. 

From raising money to finding other creative ways to help out, it's all to say "we stand with you."

"I can't personally speak to the experiences of what people are going through but being able to use my platform and what I can do to express some compassion and empathy," said Jessica Fox, owner of Oak & Iron Salon & Tattoo in Buffalo.

She's using her artistic talents to provide free tattoos to social workers and therapists. 

In exchange, they will give free counseling services to anyone in Buffalo's black community who just needs someone to talk to. 

"We're not open yet. I'm just setting up anything for the future. I've even offered to do a gift certificate type situation," Fox said. 

BreadHive Bakery & Cafe also started selling the recipe for its famous West Side Sourdough for $20. 

It's managed to raise over $10,000, which will go to black businesses and organizations throughout Buffalo.

Their campaign inspired Public Espresso and Community Beer Works to join in. 

Over the weekend, Public Espresso also donated 50 percent of proceeds to The MOCHA Center Buffalo to support LGBTQ+ communities of color.

What's Pop-in' Gourmet Popcorn owner Stefan Coker says his business has been getting lots of support from Western New York and beyond making deliveries to almost every state before and during the nationwide protests.  

"It really kind of sky rocketed," Coker said. 

What's Pop-in' also started a GoFundMe so community members can help owners raise to purchase a delivery van. 

You can donate by clicking here.

Coker says he hopes the momentum to support people of color and really create change continues even when protests eventually fade away. 

"I think it's amazing that people are starting to have this kind of acknowledgement. this kind of stuff has been going on for a long time," Coker said. "And I ask myself, will we still get this kind of praise six months from now? where will this take us?"

Coker says he'd also like to see small business owners of every race come together to start their own movement in order to change the community. 

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