Street Art & Hearts for the Homeless – An Ode to Riverside, and Buffalo

The River Rock Community Coalition (RRCC), in partnership with Hearts for the Homeless®, has spruced up the Hearts Thrift Store building with two new murals. The new works, located at 890 Tonawanda Street, are those of prolific Buffalo muralist Vinny Alejandro, who is back to making his creations after a brief hiatus.

Alejandro is known for creating his “Welcome to…” postcard-style murals throughout the city. Now, this “Welcome to Riverside” mural puts Riverside on the radar for anyone that is taking a self-guided mural tour. The mural depicts a few different Riverside landmarks, including the sunset over Strawberry Island, the lighthouse, and Tonawanda & Ontario street signs.

The “LoveU Buffalo“ mural (stained glass style) is in place to promote self-love and bring awareness to mental health and suicide prevention, according to RRCC.

Hearts for the Homeless® has occupied the building at 890 Tonawanda Street since 1997

“There are so many people in our society that struggle daily with depression and other mental health issues, especially our veterans and our youth,” said RRCC President and founder George A. Fitzpatrick, who was inspired to start the “LoveU Buffalo” movement by his daughter Gabriella. “We just want this movement to inspire positivity, and let others know that they are not alone; there is help available, and that it’s ok to not be ok.”

The building is the home of the Hearts Commercial Kitchen, corporate offices, the Hearts Thrift Store, and a food storage warehouse that supports a number of food pantry programs, and other food security initiatives. The space has also been used as a location for an after school kids program which impacted the lives of dozens of Riverside’s youth in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Additionally, it was used as an incubator to launch the clothing donation bin program which has since moved to an expansive warehouse location. While visiting the public art and enjoying the two murals, please consider shopping in the Hearts Thrift Store as all proceeds go back to fund the various outreach programs and initiatives of Hearts For The Homeless®.

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