By Rich Place

The Bread of Life Outreach (BOLO) Center at 8745 Supervisor Ave. in Colden last week officially celebrated the acquisition of its main campus with a ribbon cutting and reception that was open to the public.

Although the organization has called the former Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church its home since 2009, the ribbon cutting on Aug. 16 signified the change of ownership from the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo to BOLO, which previously leased the property.

“I don’t think there will be a perceivable difference in the community,” said Marty McMahon, secretary and treasurer for BOLO, an all-volunteer organization. “I don’t think people knew about our tenancy rather than ownership.”

But behind the scenes, ownership of the property means a world of difference when it comes to applying for grants. McMahon said the organization has already applied for three grants that specifically required the applicant to own its property.

“That’s given us some depth,” he said. “We haven’t heard anything yet but, in my opinion, a big positive for ownership is that it opens deeper possibilities for grant funding.”

McMahon said more than 50 people attended the event, which had favorable weather despite thunderstorms that rolled through the area earlier in the afternoon. Following the ribbon cutting, attendees were welcomed inside for tours and refreshments.

One of BOLO’s clients also spoke at the event, explaining the impact the organization has had on her life.

“My neighbor told us about Bread of Life — we stopped in and they have been nothing but family,” said the client, identified as Cheryl in a video posted on BOLO’s Facebook page. “This is such a happy place to go.”

Also at the event, Colden Town Councilwoman Patricia Ann Zurbrick officially designated Aug. 16 as Bread of Life Outreach Center Day in the town to celebrate BOLO’s achievement.

The ribbon cutting ceremonially ended the extensive process of acquiring the campus, which BOLO had been utilizing from the diocese through the St. George Church in West Falls. The Our Lady of Sacred Heart Parish, which previously called the building home, merged with St. George the year prior.

The purchase was more than a year of negotiations and paperwork, officials said, after the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo last year desired the two parties come up with a formal rental agreement and discuss the property’s future.

McMahon said BOLO officially purchased the property for about $54,000.

Down the road at the corner of Heath Road and Route 240, work continues on BOLO’s newest addition, the Cherry Picker, previously home of the Colden Country Store.

The organization acquired the property by donation earlier this year and has spent the summer making improvements to the building through volunteer labor. McMahon said the building is currently gutted and admitted it likely won’t be ready for a soft opening at the end of September — the weekend of the Colden Music Festival — as originally anticipated.

“They have a very strong volunteer base that is chipping away at it,” he said. “Inside it’s gutted and they are doing some reinforcement work on the second floor. It’s a great group of talented volunteers.”

McMahon anticipates BOLO will erect a tent near the building during the Colden Music Festival to educate the public about the future business, which will operate as a retail store.

Volunteers interested in helping ready the Cherry Picker for opening are invited Tuesdays from 5 to 8 p.m. at its location at the corner of Route 240 and Heath Road. It is requested volunteers call ahead of time if they plan to help at (716) 941-3550.