Basic Needs Assistance

A call or visit for emergency assistance is often the first contact an individual or family has with Catholic Charities. From that first meeting, our staff members work to establish a plan of action for how to best help that an individual or family.


Emergency Needs

Get Help

Do you have an urgent need requiring emergency assistance? We can help. The best way to connect with our staff is by calling our Central Intake office at (716) 856-4494. Residents outside of Erie County (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties), should call your local Catholic Charities office. Most assistance can be completed remotely, and alternate locations may be available if needed.

Emergency assistance is provided on a case-by-case basis; there is no one size fits all. Things we can help with include emergency food, SNAP enrollment, utilities (Neighbor-for-Neighbor Heat Fund, and Care and Share), personal care toiletries, clothing, household items, baby items, prescription medication, information and advocacy, and other assistance.

Our services, locations and hours (PDF)

Erie County Main Office

Erie County main office – Downtown Buffalo
525 Washington St.,
Buffalo, NY 14203
(716) 856-4494
Hours: Weekdays 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. Closed on major holidays.

*For all other counties, please contact your local Catholic Charities office.

Food Pantries

Get Help

Catholic Charities maintains nine pantry and outreach centers in Western New York. We have seven pantries in Erie County as well as a pantry in Wellsville in Allegany County, and in Franklinville in Cattaraugus County.

Each pantry has emergency food and offers information and referrals. Trained volunteers assess and help those in need through these centers.

To determine eligibility, you will need to provide a list of information, including proof of residency, income, and number of people in your household. Before your first visit, you may want to call the pantry you plan to visit to make sure you have the correct paperwork.

Our Pantries

  • Bishop Edward U. Kmiec Food Pantry
    • 920 Tifft Street, Buffalo – 716-332-1168
    • Monday and Thursday – 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Franklinville Food Pantry
    • 28 Park Square, Franklinville – 716-676-3215
    • Tuesday and Friday – 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Fulton-St. Brigid Food Pantry
    • 170 Fulton Street, Buffalo – 716-853-4456
    • Wednesday – 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Joyce Family Food Pantry
    • 67 East Pearl Street, Wellsville – 585-296-3757
    • Monday, Thursday & Friday   10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Kenmore Food Pantry
    • 3370 Delaware Avenue, Kenmore ‑ 716-362-0225
    • Monday and Thursday – 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Lovejoy Food Pantry
    • 139 North Ogden Street, Buffalo – 716-312-7510
    • Wednesday and Friday – 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Rich Street Food Pantry
    • 930 Genesee Street, Buffalo – 716-314-7050
    • Tuesday – 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Russell J. Salvatore Food Pantry
    • 75 Caldwell Place, Lackawanna – 716-824-4760
    • Monday and Friday– 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Town Square Food Pantry
    • 2710 North Forest Road, Getzville – 716-218-1421
    • Tuesday and Friday – 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.


Get Help

Three different programs are available to help individuals obtain a permanent living situation. Each program has varying eligibilities for homelessness and geographic qualifications (Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Erie County).

Rapid Re-housing

Rapid Re-Housing is designed to assist individuals and families who are living on the streets or in a local shelter exit homelessness and achieve long-term housing stability. The core components of the Rapid Re-Housing program are: housing search and placement, rental assistance to help clients maintain new housing, and case management services to support clients as they work towards stability and independence. City of Buffalo residents who would like to be connected with the Rapid Re-Housing Program can be screened in a local shelter or at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library at 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo, NY.

If you live in Niagara Falls, you can be screened for the Rapid Re-Housing Program by an outreach worker at Love, Heart, and Soul’s Daybreak program, which is located at 939 Ontario Ave., Niagara Falls, NY.

Homelessness Prevention Program

Our Prevention Program aims to help individuals and families avoid traumatic instances of homelessness by keeping people in their homes or providing relocation services to avoid shelter placement. If you are a City of Buffalo or Niagara Falls resident who is in immediate risk of losing your home due to poor housing conditions, unpaid rental arrears, or another catastrophic event, our Prevention Program may be able to assist you with a plan to keep you housed by providing financial assistance and case management services.

For more information on our Prevention Program and to be screened for program eligibility, please contact us at (716) 856-4494, ext. 338 for City of Buffalo residents, or (716) 282-2351 for Niagara Falls residents.

SOAR Program

Our SOAR Program is designed for Erie County residents who have a homeless history or are at risk of becoming homeless applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Our SOAR Program provides assistance with the SSI/SSDI application, advocacy on the client’s behalf throughout the process, assistance with establishing a budget plan, and other case management services.

To learn more about our SOAR Program and see if you might be eligible for services, please call (716) 856-4494, ext. 338.

Thrift Stores & Special Programs

Get Help

We operate two thrift stores in Erie and Cattaraugus Counties, and the Ladies of Charity provide a number of other special programs for people in need including holiday gifts, clothing, newborn layettes and household goods.

Thrift Stores

Ladies of Charity of the Diocese of Buffalo is a ministry of service provided by women and young women within the community on a volunteer basis. The group, which is an affiliate organization of Catholic Charities, operates the Lots of Clothes thrift store in Buffalo.

Catholic Charities operates a Thrift Store in Wellsville at its expanded pantry and family and community services site.

Lots of Clothes Thrift Store
1122 Broadway, Buffalo, NY – Phone: (716) 895-4001

Open weekdays: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Wellsville Outreach Thrift Store
67 East Pearl St., Wellsville, NY – Phone: (585) 296-3757

Open Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Both thrift stores accept donations in good, clean condition. Please call to make an appointment to drop off donations.

Special Programs

Ladies of Charity sponsors a variety of programs to support those in need.

Among the programs available by referral through a Catholic Charities office are:

  • WNY Holiday Partnership – Ladies of Charity is a partner in the Buffalo News’ Neediest program, composed of organizations helping to fulfill the Christmas toy wishes of clients of Catholic Charities. Ladies of Charity also contributes funds to purchase toys and materials from which a set of hats, scarves and mittens are made for each child.
  • Bookbag Program – From August through September, bags and school supplies are provided to children in need.
  • Clothing Program – Through a referral, clients can shop at no cost in the Lots of Clothes store.
  • Fresh Start – Provides basic household goods, including Dignity Bags, for those who have experienced home displacement for a variety of reasons.
  • Layette Program – Provides basic clothing needs for newborns for new moms in need.
  • First Communion – Through a referral, Ladies of Charity helps to dress children for this special day.
  • Reading Enrichment Program – Members meet monthly at a library or day care center to read to young children in small group settings. Each child is given individual attention to foster language skills. Additionally, the child receives a new book to take home.