CNY Blessing Box Supports Family After House Collapse CNY Blessing Box Supports Family After House Collapse

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) – Last week, a house collapse on Carbon Street in Syracuse, critically injured members of a Burmese refugee family during a religious celebration. In response, the community has rallied around them, with CNY Blessing Box leading the charge.

Tai Shaw, founder of CNY Blessing Box, said his motivation to help is driven by his own story.

“When I become somebody and I’m able to help people and feed people, I will do it. Just give me another life, change of life,” Shaw said. 

Shaw, a Vietnam refugee himself, owns CNY Uniforms Plus on Burnet Avenue in Syracuse.

His journey from fleeing Vietnam alone at the age of 10, to becoming a successful business owner and community hero is remarkable. After settling with his adoptive family in Buffalo, Shaw never forgot his dream.

In 2020, Shaw opened CNY Blessing Box, a food pantry adjacent to his shop.

Every Sunday, new American families visit this free “grocery shop,” where they can “shop” without a credit card. Volunteers help out more recent refugees, providing not just groceries, but also a renewed sense of dignity and pride.

“The moment you’re done,” Shaw said he wants people to leave the food pantry with an elated sense of pride. “Because you’re somebody, you’re my people.” 

Volunteers at the pantry share Shaw’s belief that food is just a prop. Kindness and dignity are what they really serve.

“This means nothing to eat food. You’re hungry tomorrow. Food gets you to come in the door. What you’re giving people is a little bit of love and a little bit of respect and a little bit of kindness, so you can let them be themselves again,” volunteer Joe Walker said.

Shaw’s story is a testament to resilience, kindness, and the profound impact one person can have on their community. Through CNY Blessing Box, he continues to stand behind countless others, providing hope and support to those in need.

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