Bills coaching staff bonds during offseason by serving meals to area youth

Bills coaches Heath Farwell (left), Matthew Smiley, John Butler and Jim Salgado serve lunches to students at St. Luke's Mission of Mercy on Feb. 7.

It may be the offseason, but that doesn't mean the Bills coaching staff isn't still hard at work. On Friday, Feb. 7, a group of Buffalo's coaches including Rob Boras, John Butler, John Egorugwu, Heath Farwell, Terry Heffernan, Marc Lubick, Jim Salgado, Kelly Skipper, Matthew Smiley and Ryan Wendell, spent their afternoon at St. Luke's Mission of Mercy serving meals and packing meal bags for future guests.

A staple in the area, the center provides several types of services to many. There to greet the coaches, was a group of excited children from Our Lady of Hope – the non-profit's on-site school program. Decked out in Bills gear, the kids were ecstatic to welcome their guests.

"All of the kids that are in our school program, are actually taken care of by St. Luke's Mission of Mercy," explained Pamela Krzanowicz, educational coordinator for Our Lady of Hope at St. Luke's Mission of Mercy. "That means that we provide housing, food, clothing – we buy their uniforms. We buy all of their school supplies, backpacks. They don't have to come for anything when they come for school in September. So, we're all taken care of by St. Luke's Mission of Mercy."

As they stood behind the food line, serving meals with a smile, the coaches were not only afforded an opportunity to bond, they were able to give back to the city that supports them unconditionally. For special teams coordinator Heath Farwell, who in one of his first weeks on the job last year attended a similar event, the act of good will is one he was looking forward to.

"When it's on the calendar, we're excited. We're excited to be here," he said. "It's fun to be with the kids. We've got a bunch of kids, teachers, people that work every day serving the community. It's a really cool event. The support the fans give us, not only at the games, but in general [is amazing]."

Singing the Bills "Shout Song" and getting to know their visitors, the students enjoyed the special lunch.

"For these kids, it means a lot because this is the one sport that brings our whole St. Luke's community together," said Krzanowicz. "They all watch the games on Sunday. They all talk about it on Monday when we come to school. They ask me if we can have Bills days, so that we can wear our Bills gear. And to have the coaches here, really means a lot because they're in our communities and the kids know who these Bills are and who the players are.

"For these kids, this will be one memory that they will keep forever. It will be in their hearts and in their minds."

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