Why Hope?

The Hope Project of WNY, Inc. was created as a resource for struggling families.  Often identified as 'the working poor', many families find it difficult to make ends meet regardless of employment. In addition we assist individuals who have lost their job to no fault of their own, legally disabled individuals, households with special needs members, victims of domestic violence in transition and of course, without reservation, our military families and veterans.  Individuals and families may request assistance due to a sudden or unexpected tragedy, such as a house fire or serious medical diagnosis.



Please provide supporting documentation for the circumstance in which you qualify: 

Paystub, proof of disability (SSD award letter) Domestic violence police report, special needs diagnosis letter from a doctor 


PLEASE bring a copy for us to keep on file.


We provide gently used clothing, shoes, coats, baby items, maternity clothing, prom dresses, Halloween costumes, school supplies and toys for our members. Hygiene products, and cleaning supplies are also available. These items are provided at ZERO cost to our qualifying families.



A grocery gift card program offered to qualifying families who suffer from a sudden or unforeseen hardship.


A yearly gift assistance program for our qualifying members. We provide (mainly through donations) traditional toys or requested items that are considered a necessity.

We are closed if the Lacaster NY, Depew NY, or Williamsville NY public schools are closed due to weather. We are also closed on national holidays.

Thank you for understanding.

Please check our Facebook page and sign up for our​ E-Blasts for additional closures.

Hope in the news

There's a store inside the Eastern Hills Mall that gives away everything for free

WKBW's New Year's Resolution week 2019

Posted: 11:12 AM, Jan 08, 2019 Updated: 11:19 AM, Jan 08, 2019

CLARENCE, N.Y (WKBW) — If your New Year's resolution is to be more charitable and give back, there are many places that need your help in Western New York.

The Hope Project of WNY is an organization that helps families in need. That need can range from financial hardship, raising children with special needs, families with legally disabled individuals, victims of domestic violence as well as military families and veterans.

The non-profit allows families to shop in the store free of cost for things like clothes, bedsheets, dishes, personal hygiene products and cleaning supplies. "It's dignified help. We wouldn't put anything in this store we wouldn't use ourselves, wear or put on our own children," says Noelle Forzani, Marketing Director of the Hope Project of WNY.

The Hope Project of WNY was founded by Dee Miller, who is a special needs parent. She saw the costs associated with raising a special needs child first hand and knew there were others like her out there. She started collecting donations in her home and offering them to families who needed them through Facebook. Her efforts have grown into an entire storefront inside the Eastern Hills Mall, serving hundreds of families who need a little boost. "A lot of the families are clients of ours for maybe six months and then they turn around and bring donations to us. It's so important to us to bring the community together and help everyone get by," says Miller.

The Hope Project of WNY only survives through donations of Western New Yorkers. They need the donation of time from volunteers as well as gently used or new goods. The organization is currently in need of household cleaning supplies, paper products, toiletries, young boys' clothing, men's underwear and pots and pans.

The Bee

The Hope Project continues its good work

by AMY ROBB Editor

Dee Miller and her daughter, Ava, help arrange clothing for families to choose from when they visit The Hope Project’s new location at 42 S. Warsaw St. in Depew.

Dee Miller never thought that a quick Facebook post would lead to her life’s calling. Like a lot of big life changes, this one was unexpected but not unwelcome. In fact, it was a sigh of relief for the Lancaster mother of two.

A simple post offering open food items led to dozens of families messaging her, and as the numbers grew, Miller found herself taking donations from countless community members and storing them at her home for those in need to pick up.

“I’ll never forget, I can remember them coming to my home, and it got to the point where I started collecting food from other people, and I think it was seven or eight families that ended up getting [what they needed] from this post,” said Miller.

This was as of May 2015, and a lot has changed since then.

Formerly known as the Community Closet, The Hope Project of Western New York now has a brick and mortar location at 42 S. Warsaw St. in Depew.

The organization has the same focus it did at its creation: to be there for people who work but through many hardships cannot provide daily necessities for their families.

”They pay for the roof over their kids’ heads. They pay for the food on their table, but they may not be able to get them school supplies or clothing that fits properly or is in decent shape … and that’s where we come in. We want all these kids to go to school and feel proud of themselves — a sense of dignity. We need to make sure that it happens for everyone,” said Miller.

Ultimately, it comes down to seeing a need and doing something about it, whether it’s fresh socks for a teenage girl or a warm blanket for a single mother, given that colder months are right around the corner.

“I can’t accept it, and I don’t think we should accept it as a community,” added Miller, referring to people in the community who are going without necessities.

The Hope Project is close to becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and Miller expects the last stages to be completed by the end of this year.

“Everything has been submitted. We’re just waiting for the approval from the federal government, and then once that happens, I’m hoping that opens up our donation base a little bit,” said Miller.

Right now, the organization relies solely on donations and fundraisers such as its basket raffles and its most recent drive for school clothes and supplies. It’s estimated that supplies and clothing donated helped 40 to 50 local families.

The next push is for winter coats, boots and blankets. Miller urges people donating to think about the people who will be wearing what they give; material must be in good condition with no broken zippers, tears in fabric or stains.

”Anything that you would put on your own family member,” added Miller.

Upcoming fundraisers for the organization include a Family Fitness Marathon from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at Shannon Connors Fitness, 5801 Transit Road in Depew, and the Holiday Fundraising Event from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Lancaster Moose Lodge, 5437 Broadway in Lancaster.

Donors and those looking for assistance are encouraged to call 328-7022, stop by in person or visit the group’s Facebook page, “The Hope Project of WNY.” The organization is always looking for volunteers to help sort through the countless items donated or help with fundraising events.