City Mission teams with Meals on Wheels to help at the holidays

Dec 26, 2018

Volunteers load cars with meals packaged for the annual Hambone Express event on Christmas Day.
Credit Sam Scarcello / 19 Ideas

More than 3,000 holiday meals were delivered to the elderly, impoverished, and those who can’t venture out for themselves. It’s usually the kind of job done by Western New York’s Meals on Wheels volunteers. But on Christmas day, they got a break from the Buffalo City Mission.

Hambone Express volunteers line up to load cars at the Meals on Wheels for WNY facility.
Credit Sam Scarcello / 19 Ideas

The Hambone Express has been a tradition at the Buffalo City Mission for more than two decades. Meals are prepared for delivery around 8 a.m. on Christmas day, packed into vehicles for those in need, and taken door-to-door. But this year, cooking for the annual event was impeded by construction for the mission’s new men’s community center.

Manager of Volunteers Sue Cervi said the job got done with the help of the mission’s local partner, Meals on Wheels of Western New York.

“Meals on Wheels has been very gracious, and we’ve been using their space. We did at Thanksgiving and we did for Christmas,” said Cervi.

It takes more than just kitchen space to make the Hambone Express a success. It’s the volunteers who make it possible.

Sue Cervi, Manager of Volunteers for the Buffalo City Mission, said it's the volunteers who have made the Hambone Express possible by making it part of their own Christmas tradition each year.
Credit Sam Scarcello / 19 Ideas

“Our volunteers in the community are awesome,” said Cervi. “We have wonderful folks who give up their heart and their time, and they came out on Christmas morning to serve a community in need. And what I love to see is that families make this a tradition with themselves as well.”

131 teams made this year's deliveries possible.