Like most things since last March, this year’s Unity with Our Community is going to look different than in years past. For the past four years, Hilbert College faculty, staff, students, and alumni have participated in an annual service day, devoted to carrying on the work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The importance of taking action to promote equity and strengthen our community is paramount to our college’s Franciscan mission.
Since the pandemic began, our nation has witnessed its disproportionate and overwhelming effects felt by our communities of color. The underlying inequities that are present in our communities became clearer than ever. As a Franciscan college, we must continue to educate, inform, and take the necessary steps to eliminate systemic racism and oppression.
This year’s Unity with Our Community will consist of programs, events, and information-sharing extended throughout the four weeks of February to engage our community in conversation and service on racial justice and equity. A complete schedule of programs will be announced shortly.
To quote Dr. Martin Luther King, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
As a Catholic, Franciscan institution, we continue to commemorate Dr. King’s legacy and move forward his ideals of dignity and respect for all.
Below is a list of past Unity with Our Community partner organizations. Members of the Hilbert community looking to donate their time and other resources are encouraged to visit their websites for more information.
1. Compass House: Provides runaway, homeless, and street youth with safe shelter and services. Compass House stands as one of the nation’s oldest shelter and service providers for youth of all gender identities, offering shelter, counseling, and so much more.
2. 716 Ministries: A community development organization that stabilizes neighborhoods by restoring neglected housing stock. The organization sells these rehabilitated homes at a low cost, to community members and first-time homebuyers, largely thanks to the faithful volunteers that serve with the agency.
3. Family Promise of WNY: One of only two emergency shelters in Erie County that keep families together which include fathers and teenage sons. The agency’s mission is to unite faith communities and people of good will in responding to the needs of families experiencing homelessness in our community.
4. FeedMore of WNY: The primary hunger-relief organization in Western New York. The agency obtains nutritious food and distributes support to our community members throughout Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara Counties.
5. Jewish Family Services of WNY: Serves children, families, and older adults throughout WNY and provides critical health and human services, regardless of religion, ethnicity, cultural background, gender identification, ability or age.
6. Journey’s End Refugee Services: A community organization that works to support refugees on their journey to self-sufficiency as they make their new home in WNY.
7. Little Portion Friary: A volunteer-run organization that brings forth the mission of the Catholic Church to provide food for the hungry, clothing for the undressed, and shelter for the homeless.
8. Salvation Army in Buffalo: Provides a variety of programs and services that annually benefit over 30,000 economically disadvantaged people. The Salvation Army is an integral part of the local human service network, providing housing, clothing, nutritional, social, and spiritual assistance through a wide range of separate but interrelated programs and services.
9. The Teacher’s Desk: a nonprofit organization that provides free resources and supplies to local teachers for their classrooms and students to better facilitate learning and academic success
10. Veterans One Stop: A local non-profit that unites and empowers veterans, service members, and their families. The agency provides free services and resources such as employment, financial counseling, legal, housing, and education to ease the transition from military to civilian life.