by Peter Kates

The Bailey Green neighborhood is located on Buffalo’s East Side. It is bordered by Bailey Avenue, the Kensington Expressway, Genesee, and Colorado Streets. It is a neighborhood that has faced considerable challenges for decades.

In 2008, Harmac Medical Products, a company located in Bailey Green and where many Bailey Green residents also work, wanted to find ways to improve the neighborhood. With the help of a plan designed by the University of Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, the initiative now includes more than 40 not-for-profit, business and municipal partners.

Recently, Univera Healthcare awarded grants to five community-based organizations involved in the Bailey Green Initiative — Buffalo Peacemakers, Buffalo Urban League, Buffalo Go Green, Groundwork Market Garden, and Habitat for Humanity Buffalo.

“We focused our grants on this section of Buffalo because the need is so great, and the collaboration among residents and their community partners is so impressive,” said Univera President Art Wingerter.

Bailey Green is also a food desert — an area without grocery stores, farmers markets, or other fresh food providers within a one-mile radius. Food deserts contribute to poor health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and hypertension. Many of the partners’ efforts, including the recipients of Univera’s grants, are focused on changing that.

  • Buffalo Peacemakers will provide 2,000 meals and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to economically challenged households.
  • Buffalo Urban League will distribute fresh fruits, vegetables, and PPE to residents, along with a directory of behavioral health services and literature on ways to improve their health.
  • Buffalo Go Green will increase produce at urban farms, make it available at farmers markets in the Bailey Green neighborhood, and provide printed healthy recipes and nutrition information.
  • Groundwork Market Garden will provide residents with healthy organic produce, and introduce them to gardening as a fun outdoor family activity and a way to enjoy healthy home-grown fruits and vegetables.
  • Habitat for Humanity Buffalo will remove dangerous and unstable properties and replace them with green space and new housing. This will not only enhance the neighborhood’s beauty, but will also rid it of unoccupied areas that are often conducive to illicit activities.

“We’re pleased that Univera has taken an interest in supporting our partner organizations in Bailey Green,” said Harmac President & CEO John Somers. “These grants will help them continue the great work they are doing in caring for our neighbors in making Bailey Green a healthier and safer community, in which we can all be proud to work, play, and live.”

The Bailey Green Initiative routinely adds new partners and volunteers who want to help bring health, safety, job training, and other opportunities to the neighborhood and its residents. To learn more about how you can help, contact Harmac Medical Products at 716-897-4500.

Peter Kates is the Vice President of Communications of Univera Healthcare.