As Buffalo gears up for the holiday season, take some time out to give back to the community. Whether you’re a long-time volunteer (awesome!) or just looking to enter the charity scene, Buffalo has some seriously cool events coming up in November and December. Sure, it might be a little self-indulgent to look for the funnest events around, but if you’re going to have fun anyways, why not add a little charity to it? StepOut has gathered up some of the most intriguing charity events Buffalo has to offer. Find what speaks to you!
2nd Annual Semicolon Tattoo Event
Donations will go to support Crisis Services in memory of Scott Lavey
Saturday, Nov. 5
CowPok Piercing and Tattoo Gallery, 177 Elmwood Ave (12-10 p.m.) AND 5651 Main St., Williamsville (12-8 p.m.)
$40 donation per tattoo
Everyone loves a new tattoo, but it isn’t often you can get one in support of an incredibly impactful service organization. On Saturday, Nov. 5 head to your local CowPok and for a flat donation of $40 you will get a semicolon tattoo.
The semicolon tattoo began as a social-media initiative and has turned into Project Semicolon, a major movement and awareness campaign to destigmatize mental health treatment and suicide prevention.
The donations will go to Crises Service of Erie County. Suicide Prevention and Crisis Service, Inc. began way back in November 1968 and today, Crisis Services of Erie County is the most comprehensive crisis center in upstate New York. Crisis Services runs a multitude of community services including a 24 hour hotline; The Advocate Program: Rape, Domestic Violence, Family Violence, and Elder Abuse; an outreach program to Buffalo’s homeless community; community education; and police/mental health coordination project. Crisis Services seeks to explore new methods of treatment for those going through emotional crises as well as to provide training to community members.
WNYBAC’s 2nd Annual Liquor and Letterpress Fundraiser
All proceeds benefit the Western New York Book Art’s Center’s dedication to promoting printing and book-related arts through education and exhibition
Saturday, Nov. 5
WNY Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St.
$40 individual presale/$65 pair presale/$45 door
The Western New York Book Arts Center should become, if it isn’t already, your go-to holiday shopping destination. You can indulge any booklovers desires at WNYBAC with handmade notebooks, creative screen printed posters, wonderful cards, workshops, and poetry readings. The Liquor and Letterpress Fundraiser will help support all of WNYBAC’s endeavors from education, to creation, to exhibition.
At Liquor and Letterpress, you can sample locally-crafted gin, whiskey, rum, and vodka as well as indulge in gourmet food, live music, and a silent art and basket auction. Later in the evening, WNYBAC volunteers will help guests create hand-printed items like coasters, posters, cards, and notebooks. After the event ends, head to Raclettes for BOGO beer and wine, drink specials, and food discounts just for Liquor and Letterpress attendees.
Essential Friends Shopping Spree
Proceeds benefit Hospice and Palliative Care’s Essential Care for Children
Wednesday, Nov. 9
Orchard Park Country Club, 4777 South Buffalo St.
$35 per person
Essential Care for Children is a home-based palliative care program for children from infancy to adolescence who’ve been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness across Western New York. The program provides physical, emotional, social, and spiritual care for children and their families.
To support this incredible program, attend the Essential Friends Shopping Spree. Your $35 ticket includes hors d’oeuvres and one complimentary drink – a cash bar will be available.
All food collected will be donated to Buffalo Food not Bombs
Saturday, Nov. 12
Registration begins at 12 p.m.; ride is from 1-5 p.m.
After party is at GoBike workshop (98 Colvin Ave) at 3 p.m.
Bring $10-$15 to buy food to donate
GoBike’s Cranksgiving is no average food drive. Instead of hauling cans of soup somewhere, families and teams (limit of 4 people per team) will race around the city on bikes to visit grocery stores to purchase food items to donate to Buffalo Food not Bombs. Each team will return their goods to the GoBike workshop where trophies and prizes will be awarded at 3 p.m.
For those who can’t attend the ride, the after party is open to all – so long as you bring 4 vegan non-perishable items or a $5 donation.
Buffalo Food not Bombs shares free vegan meals with anyone who is hungry at Lafayette Square at 1 p.m. on Mondays and Saturdays.
Sweet for Service
All proceeds support The Service Collaborative of Western New York
Saturday, Nov. 12
Ellicott Square Building, 295 Main St (Use Washington Street entrance)
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
$30 presale/$35 door
If you’re into delicious desserts, wine and beer, basket raffles, silent auctions, and supporting volunteerism and national service then Sweet for Service is your kind of event. Sample treats from local vendors like Mazurek’s Bakery, Muscareil’s Fine Desserts and Gourment Cakes, Landies Candies, and Wegmans.
The Service Collaborative facilitates community partnerships focusing on education, economic opportunity, youth development, and volunteering. TSCWNY runs programs including WNY YouthBuild, AmeriCorps Builds Lives Through Education (full disclosure: I am a second-term ABLE member), Serve New York VISTA, and Regional Opportunity Corps.
Second Chance Sheltering Network’s 2016 Annual Chinese Auction
Proceeds benefit the Second Chance Sheltering Network
Sunday, Nov. 13
Main-Transit Fire Hall, 6777 Main St., Williamsville
Doors open at 1 p.m.; Drawings begin at 3 p.m.
Who doesn’t love a good ole’, classic Chinese auction? For just $10 you’ll get 5 auction tickets, a beverage, and dessert. But wait- if you bring a 3.5 lb or larger bag of Purina One Cat/Kitten food, you’ll get 25 free auction tickets.
Second Chance Sheltering Network, Inc. an all-volunteer, no-kill animal rescue organization. Second Chance fosters stray, orphaned, abandoned, and abused animals until they are ready for adoption.
4th Annual Shakespearean Idol
Proceeds benefit the Partnership for the Public Good
Thursday, Dec. 1
Buffalo History Museum, 1 Museum Court
The 4th Annual Shakespearean Idol is a charity event unlike pretty much any other this Winter. Local civic leaders will compete before a panel of judges – including Saul Elkin of Shakespeare in Delaware Park – as audience members cast their votes to crown the winner of the Shakespearean competition. You’ll see an all-star cast including Buffalo News’ reporter Colin Dabkowski, BPS Board Member Paulette Woods, and Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant. Stick around after the competition for drinks and dessert.
The night’s proceeds will go to benefit the Partnership for the Public Good, which provides research and advocacy support to an array of partners in the Buffalo-Niagara region. PPG supports community groups to have stronger and better-informed voices in public policy debates. PPG helps the region build on local assets while making progress in areas like poverty, inequality, and pollution.