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, 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.


Who We Are

Meet the Board Members of The Hope Project of WNY, Inc.

Deirdre (Dee) Miller

Executive Director & Founder​ 

The Hope Project of WNY, formerly known as Lancaster Community Closet, was founded by Dee Miller. Dee, a mother of two (Jacob and Ava), first began this journey out of her home in 2015 in hope to help neighbors in need of clothing and personal hygiene items. She had such a great response and need from local families, it was important to get a larger space outside of her home. Soon after, she was successful in receiving a 501C3 status in late 2016, which then took us onto our biggest location at The Eastern Hills Mall. We are now helping to serve our local Veterans, Domestic Violence Victims, Fire Victims, Families with Disabilities, and The Working Poor.  She is the heart and soul of the organization as she puts countless hours in to make sure we can provide hope to many members in our community who continue to struggle everyday. Dee is a mother of a child who has autism, which is a fulltime job within itself, as well as running an organization. She says 'it would not have been possible without the volunteers by her side". You can contact her by emailing [email protected].

Noelle Forzani

Advisory Board - Marketing Director

Noelle went to Hilbert college and earned her Bachelor degree in Human Services. She met Dee when she was a girl scout leader and her daughter was working to earn her Bronze Award. Her troop organized a supply drive at her school that brought in over 1500 personal hygiene products for the hope project, in addition to funds that were raised during a bake sale. After getting to know Dee and learning what her mission was all about, Noelle was very inspired and wanted to help in any way she could. Her creative force in planning fundraisers and events makes her a great asset to our team. You can contact her by emailing [email protected]

Marlene Stoerr

Advisory Board - Organization Specialist

Marlene has been with The Hope Project of WNY, Inc. since it's humble beginning in 2015. She started at The Hope Project after learning about Dee's mission. Marlene's long standing commitment to The Hope Project has been invaluable as she continues to run day - to - day operations which provides a welcoming and caring environment for our clients.  Marlene is retired and says this is a great way for her to fill her time. You can contact her by emailing [email protected]

Peggy Lawrie

Advisory Board - Organization Specialist 

Peggy has been with The Hope Project of WNY, Inc. for many years. She always puts her best foot forward by making sure our shop is always stocked with many essentials that are requested or needed by our clients. She is very dedicated in making sure that a certain portion of our donations are given to the Hearts for Homeless, so that everything we are given is being utilized. Peggy works alongside with Marlene to make sure our shop looks clean and organized.