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Local food pantry hosts relief concert on Jefferson Avenue

Nearly two months after the mass shooting at Tops Market in East Buffalo, healing continues.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Community leaders and neighbors came together Sunday in East Buffalo for a relief concert aimed at promoting continued healing in the city nearly two months after the mass shooting at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue.

The Buffalo Still Standing Relief Concert was organized by the Upper Room Church of God in Christ, also known as COGIC, food pantry in partnership with Canisius College.

Cynthia Benning is the director of the food pantry, one of the oldest thriving food pantries in East Buffalo, and organized the relief concert.

The day was all about fellowship and good music, two things that bring people joy.

"The sun is shining today, which makes me feel like this is what we're supposed to be," Benning says. "Look at the people, It's calling people, and it's calling people because it makes them want to jump, makes them want to dance, makes them want to sing. And anytime you want to sing, whether you can hold a note or not, then that's a good feeling."

From 5 to 8 p.m., people gathered in Spillman Lot on Jefferson Avenue and sang along with local and national award-winning gospel artists, including Buffalo's own DeMarka Wheeler, whose voice took her all the way to the finals of BET's Sunday Service singing competition. 

"We do our best to keep each other uplifted in the roughest moments of entire life, which the tragedy was the absolute worst thing that could have ever happened to us, but I'm just grateful to be a part of this to help uplift this community," Wheeler told 2 On Your Side's Liz Lewin. 

Mayor Byron Brown, Senator Tim Kennedy, and Common Council member Ulysees Wingo, among others, also came out to celebrate Buffalo with the community. 

"People coming together that's what this is all about, celebrating who we are as a community," Kennedy said.

COGIC's food pantry is still collecting food and non-food items for those in need at 131 Florida St., Buffalo, NY 14208.

Extended hours of operation are as follows:

  • Tuesday: 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Noon to 4:00pm
  • Thursday: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.



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