The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team will again embark on a week-long slate of community service projects throughout Buffalo and Western New York. Launched in 2013, the Sabres' "Community Assist" week involves Sabres players and their spouses, coaches, team officials, alumni and fans supporting a variety of community service initiatives and programs throughout the region. This year's Community Assist week will take place from Dec. 8 through Dec. 12 and will involve seven different charitable entities from the region.
"Taking a look around this community and recognizing that we can make a very real impact is the core of Community Assist week," said Sabres President Ted Black. "By devoting an entire week to reaching out and giving back to some really important causes in this area, we hope to inspire others to do the same. It is our hope that, even beyond the holiday season, everyone will take a look around their own community and see where they can make a positive impact for those in need."
The schedule of events for Sabres Community Assist week is as follows:
Monday, Dec. 8: FUTURE Goals Program School Visit
Sabres players will be visiting Lorraine Elementary School (Buffalo PS #72) to engage with students who are participating in the FUTURE GOALS program, a major new North American digital education initiative that is being launched by the NHL and NHLPA. Through this digital learning education initiative, students will build their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills using the fast-paced, exciting game of hockey as a learning vehicle. The program is committed to sparking student interest in STEM topics and helping students become college-ready, career-ready and life-ready. The Sabres school visit will be the first of many efforts intended to create awareness for the program and help increase school and student participation of this exciting initiative. Elementary school students across North America will have free access to the Future Goals curriculum. Together the NHL and the NHLPA plan to reach 1 million students with this initiative.
Monday, Dec. 8: Summit Academy VisitSabres players will visit Summit Academy in Getzville, N.Y., to take part in an art project with some of the autistic students. Players will work hand-in-hand with the students to create artwork that will later be used for a fundraiser during Autism Awareness Month (April). In addition, Sabres employees will be participating in a Toiletries Drive that will benefit some of the school's most needy families who are in need of toiletry essentials this time of year. Summit Academy, a program of Summit Educational Resources, is a year-round school serving more than 300 Western New York children and young adults, ages 3 - 21, with autism and other developmental disabilities and delays.
Tuesday, Dec. 9: Sabres' Wives Visit to Ronald McDonald House
Sabres players' wives and girlfriends will be cooking and serving lunch for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Buffalo. The wives will be responsible for setting the menu and preparing and serving the meals for the families who are in from out of town so their child can receive hospital treatment. Since 1983, the Ronald McDonald House provides a home away from for families of seriously ill children who are being treated at local hospitals.
Tuesday, Dec. 9: Buffalo Sabres Thunder Special Hockey Team Day
The Buffalo Sabres Thunder, part of the American Special Hockey Association, is a team consisting of mentally challenged and developmentally disabled individuals. The team will be invited to First Niagara Center to watch the Sabres vs. Kings game from two luxury suites. Prior to the game, the team will skate at HARBORCENTER's open skate from 5-7 p.m. Sabres alumni will also be on hand. Proceeds from the skate will benefit the Buffalo Sabres Thunder. Following the game, the team will be invited down to the Sabres locker room to meet with some of their heroes.
Wednesday, Dec. 10: Children's Hospital Holiday Party
An annual holiday tradition, the entire Sabres team will make a visit to Children's Hospital to celebrate the season with children in the Stone's Buddies program. Players will be there to spend time with the kids and participate in arts and crafts, as well as cookie decorating and the Children's Hospital Tree Lighting Ceremony. Stone's Buddies is a program for chronically ill children. Created in memory of former patient Stone Filipovich, the mission of the Stone's Buddies program is to provide a network of resources, support, friendship and fun for the many "frequent flyers" that regularly use Children's Hospital. This program is for children with life-threatening illness, as well as the patients who struggle daily with special needs and feelings of isolation due to the nature of their chronic illness.
Thursday, Dec. 11: Hillside Family of AgenciesHillside Family of Agencies is an organization that provides many important services to families and individuals in need throughout WNY. Their foster care program helps match long-term foster children into forever homes with couples who are looking to adopt. Many foster children they serve are teenagers, who have an especially difficult time of being adopted. These are children who have essentially been left behind by their birth parents and have bounced from one foster home to another. By creating awareness for Hillside and their foster care program, the Sabres hope to shine a light on the alarming need for adoptive parents and have that translate into one or more of these children being adopted. Children from the program will be invited to the Sabres vs. Flames game, dinner at (716) Food and Sport and a post-game visit to the Sabres locker room.
Thursday, Dec. 11: West Seneca Senior Citizens Center Guests of Brian Gionta at Sabres-Flames
Senior citizens from the West Seneca Senior Citizens Center will watch the Sabres-Flames game from Brian Gionta's suite.
Friday, Dec. 12: Bingo at West Seneca Senior Citizens Center
Sabres players and alumni will visit the West Seneca Senior Citizens Center to join the seniors for an afternoon of bingo. Players will team up with the seniors and will also take turns calling out the letter/number combinations and hand out prizes.