The nightmare unfolded when a lone gunman entered TOPS Supermarket in Buffalo, NY on May 14, 2022, and shot and killed ten unarmed civilians. The senseless killing, which targeted people going about their daily routine, has left the entire Buffalo community and nation in mourning.
Feeling the pain of seeing his hometown shattered by the tragic event, one resident of Buffalo, Chef Darian Bryan, immediately resolved to do what he could to assist those impacted. With the help of his wife Jessica, Chef Bryan invited the community to purchase meals to raise funds for the families of the victims of this unimaginable crime.
One of Chef Bryan’s first calls for support of the initiative was to GraceKennedy Foods, (USA) LLC (GK Foods USA). Without hesitation, the Jamaican-based international food company came on board with a contribution of seasonings and beverages for 1000 meals to be prepared by Bryan – 500 ‘Rasta Pasta’ and 500 jerk chicken dinners. The initiative was also supported by Buffalo Bills legends, Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith, and executed in collaboration with Be a Blessing Buffalo and over 25 volunteers.
The sale of the meals raised $20,000 for the victims’ families, with another $30,000 raised through a donation link.
“As a resident of Buffalo, I consider myself blessed and humbled to be able to make a difference in the lives of the families affected by this tragedy, doing what I know and do best, cooking,” said Chef Bryan. “This would not have been possible without the support of GK Foods USA, Be a Blessing Buffalo, Sysco Wholesale Company, Larkin Square, Ocean Wealth Group, Dolce Panepinto, volunteers, and the support of this resilient community,” he added.
News of the tragic event has touched the entire GK team. Global Category Manager at Grace Foods, Kimberley Lue Lim commented, “When we received the call for support from Chef Bryan, our immediate response was how can we help? GK is honored to be a part of these fundraising efforts and pleased to see the outcome. I only hope this community can find some sort of comfort from this outpouring of love. We will continue to pray for healing for the families of the victims, and we hope that we never see something like this happen ever again.”
GraceKennedy Limited, the parent company of GK Foods, USA, has been delivering the flavor of Jamaica to the world for 100 years. The company’s corporate social responsibility activities stretch beyond the Caribbean into the many other communities they serve around the world, including New York, New Jersey, and Florida in the USA.
Since the initial fundraising effort, Chef Bryan has continued to make a difference in Buffalo through his ongoing collaboration with World Central Kitchen (WCK), which has seen him prepare 750 meals twice a day for the community. WCK is a non-profit organization led by Chef Jose Andres dedicated to serving meals worldwide in areas experiencing natural disasters. In the weeks following the May 14th shooting Bryan and other participating chefs and restaurants have been partnering with WCK to help meet the needs of the community in Buffalo, NY served by the TOPS Supermarket.
To help, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/c/act/buffalo-mass-shooting-fundraisers