The Goodness Project offers resources to nonprofits in need

With declining revenue and increased need during the Covid-19 pandemic, area nonprofits have a new resource to address both their own needs and those of their clients.

The Goodness Project of Western New York has partnered with over 70 area nonprofits since opening last October at the old Niagara Food Terminal on Clinton Street, providing everything from paper products and cleaning supplies to food and toys at deep discounted rates. It’s the local branch of an international nonprofit relief organization.

The national nonprofit opened its Buffalo regional site last fall, leasing 30,000 square feet on three floors. The 10,000-square-foot resource center accepts donations from big box partners, including national firms through the Good360 program. Nonprofit partners can shop for items for their own use or to be distributed to needy clients. Pallets of bottled water and nonperishable food and candy are donated directly to area food pantries and mailed overseas to military personnel.

Based in Fort Worth, Texas, The Goodness Project was incorporated in 2002. The organization also has sites in Toronto, Nashville and Israel. The locations have ties to founders Bill and Rachelle Fletcher: Bill, a Canadian, moved to the Texas after meeting his wife at a Christian college in Missouri. His sister, Angie Catuzza, met her American husband 10 years ago and moved from Canada to Buffalo six years ago. She is now the regional director for the organization in Buffalo, overseeing a three-person staff and a team of volunteers.

“Funding is always the issue. We all work on a strict budget, so our list of needs is always higher than our funding,” Catuzza said. “Our goal was to be able to provide more resources to the nonprofits so they’re not paying retail-store pricing. ”

Through its partnership with Good360, the organization receives donations of two to four semi-truckloads of products weekly. Nonprofit partners buy the products at 70-90% off retail prices, with fees covering administrative overhead like rent and trucking costs. The Good360 program previously operated in the region through a warehouse distribution program with The Service Collaborative that ended in 2013.

The Goodness Project is also partnering with Eight Days of Hope, another national nonprofit that opened a Buffalo site two years ago. Eight Days focuses primarily on mobilizing volunteers and donations to help communities after a disaster, but also has a distribution ministry. With their warehouses located just five miles apart, the two nonprofits are now referring groups to each other when appropriate.

Patrick Mellody, purchasing manager at Jericho Road Community Health Center, toured the Goodness Project warehouse last month and found furniture, health and beauty items, medical supplies and other items he says could benefit both Jericho's clients and those at its Vive shelter for asylum-seekers and refugees.

Lianne Reinhardt, resource center manager, said the organization continues to work on spreading the word.

“So many don’t know we’re here, and we have this amazing facility full of resources that can make their dollar go so much further and really help meet the needs in the community,” she said.

Nonprofits are required to sign up through the website, then provide proof of their active incorporation as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Once that’s verified, they can provide a list of authorized representatives who can come in to shop at the resource center.

Panorama Hispano is the regional news and information newspaper for Hispanic and other diverse communities.

US Hispanics are now the largest ethnic minority in the United States numbering 54.2 million as of July 2014. Serving: Buffalo, Rochester, Fredonia, Niagara Falls, NY and Erie, PA. Outside our Market area: Visit our affiliate at: http://www.impremedia.com/

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