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City church plans service for Buffalo

OBSERVER Photo by M.J. Stafford Dunkirk’s Friendship Missionary Baptist Church will host a service Thursday to honor and remember the victims of the Buffalo mass shootings that took 10 lives.

In response to the recent mass shooting in Buffalo committed by a white supremacist, Dunkirk’s Friendship Missionary Baptist Church is hosting a prayer service Thursday for families who lost loved ones.

“We want to put emphasis on the importance of being aware of the community we live in and our environment,” said the church’s pastor, the Rev. Early G. Waller.

“This could happen in any place. We are out here (in Dunkirk), but we have those people’s best interests in mind as well,” added the reverend, a leading figure in the local religious community whose name is on the stretch of Second Street where his church is located.

The service will be 5 p.m. Thursday at the church, 18 East Second St. in Dunkirk. All are welcome. Waller extended a specific invitation to all clergy from local churches.

The congregation is also collecting donations and food items to deliver to Buffalo agencies that are helping the families of people who lost loved ones.

Ruth Whitfield, 86, was one of the 10 people murdered. She has relatives in Chautauqua County, many of whom attend Waller’s church.

The reverend said Thursday’s service will be an opportunity for those who cannot attend her funeral on Saturday to donate to her family.

He said people can bring “flowers or any other item they might want to send, be it a financial donation.” Items should be dropped off at the church.

Waller added, “Some have even sent over non-perishable canned goods.” The shootings happened at a Tops supermarket, the main source of food for its surrounding neighborhood. With the supermarket closed indefinitely, many local charities are collecting and distributing food for neighborhood residents.

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