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Walmart donates to African American Cultural Center, avoids Buffalo location questions

Walmart came to Buffalo to donate money, but wouldn't answer questions about opening a location in Buffalo proper.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The influx of donations, pop-up markets and goodwill is hitting critical mass in the wake of the mass shooting at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue. 

But as Masten District councilmember Ulysses Wingo said on the 2 On Your Side Town Hall, it's not sustainable. 

Leaders of the African American Cultural Center agree and say long-term solutions need to be brought to the table. 

"We're hoping that this will make you know those powers that be see that we need more than one supermarket," said Dorthea Baxter-Hughes, chair of the African American Cultural Center board. "We should have different buildings or stores that folks can shop at on a daily basis."

Executives from one of the largest retailers in the world were in Buffalo on Thursday to donate $25,000 to the African American Cultural Center. 

"We want to start our partnership with you this way because this is not going to be the end," said Cedric Clark, Senior Vice President of Walmart East Business Unit. "We are committed to eradicating hate where we can by supporting organizations like yours." 

According to AACC's Executive Director, the money and resources that Walmart is providing will help them open their doors to the community and help them begin to heal. 

"For our children and for families to come here and just use this place as a retreat, to get away from the media, the television, all of the noise of what's happening out in the community," said Jaqueline Mines, Executive Director at the AACC. "We want to give them an opportunity to come in here learn dance, do some painting, let's get on a circle, and let's talk about what happened and how it's impacted us."

2 On Your Side tried to ask Clark and one other executive about a potential Walmart location in city proper, specifically in an area like the Masten District where there aren't many options for affordable groceries. 

Clark said he was unable to go on camera or even answer questions off the record. Another executive simply stayed "stay tuned" when asked about a Buffalo store. 

The closest Walmart to the African American Cultural Center is 6 miles away on Sheridan Drive in Amherst, which is a 20-minute drive, or 30 to 60-minute metro commute one-way. 

AACC staff and supporters were thrilled with the donation from Walmart, saying this will help the community immensely.

"Walmart is going to be providing food for us. For the families, as you saw here, they've donated money," Mines said. "So we want the community to come out, and take advantage of this."

You can learn more about what the African American Cultural Center is planning on its website

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