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by Michael Jafari / Buffalo Sabres
On Martin Luther King Day, the Buffalo Sabres Green Team partnered with local organizations for a day of service and helped to convert houses on the east side of Buffalo into energy efficient homes.

The Sabres teamed up with National Fuel, WNY AmeriCorps, Hands On Greater Buffalo and the Glenwood-Fillmore Curb Block Club to go door-to-door and deliver National Fuel Conservation Incentive Program weatherization kits.  National Fuel provided the kits, which included, window insulation, heat and air deflectors for walls, floors and ceilings, door and window weatherstripping , electric switch plate sealers and pamphlets on how people can be more energy efficient. They also did renovationsat select homes to help some of those less fortunate make their homes more efficient.    

“We have engaged a bunch of volunteers to go to different homes who have signed up to receive these National Fuel energy efficiency kits,”   said WNY AmeriCorps Assistant Program Manager Lauren Baer.  “Volunteers and members of WNY AmeriCorps are going to these homes and installing them for those who want them to.  Some residents are taking these kits, which are great, but all the volunteers who are going into those homes are trained to install and are overall helping the cost of energy for those who are on a lower income scale.”

The Sabres started the event off by holding a rally at the Harbor Club inside HSBC Arena.  Sabres defenseman Steve Montador kicked off the event by giving an inspiring speech to all the volunteers.  National Fuel was also present at the rally as the organization distributed 500 kits to the volunteers and sent them on their way to help those in the community who needed the assistance.

“The Sabres helped out by recognizing our group and giving a pep talk earlier in the day. Both the Sabres and National Fuel showed our community that businesses that make a lot of money are still interested in helping people that aren’t as fortunate as they are,” said Glenwood-Fillmore Curb Block Club President and Community Activist Larry Williams.

The organization was able to draw an impressive 245 volunteers that donated a total of 1,225 hours to contribute to the event.  The large number of volunteers resulted in two home renovations and kit deliveries to more than100 homes.  Sabres players Nathan Gerbe and Mike Weber donated some of their time to help with the renovations.

“We have people in our neighborhood who are interested in volunteering, and volunteerism is very hard to come by these days.  We are fortunate enough to have people who can see beyond their personal needs to help other people,” said Williams.  “It’s excellent participation, and it is way more than I expected.  This is our first outing, and I am ecstatic about the amount of people who came out to volunteer.”

According to WNY AmeriCorps’ statistics, the event reduced 575,411.3 pounds of carbon and saved homeowners who participated in the event a total of $38,896.58.  In addition, the volunteers prepared 91 food bags to be distributed at Old First Ward Community Center’s Food Pantry and created 153 “Thank You” cards for local veterans.  They also donated 111 care packages and $900 in gift cards to the Health Care for Homeless Veterans Project.

“Overall, the energy of the volunteers is outstanding.  The people have been very welcoming and flexible, which really helped things move smoothly overall,” said Baer.
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