Buffalo Ladies of Charity volunteer Estelle Anderson, age 96, received a surprise visit from NBC Today Show Host Al Roker. Estelle was recognized by the Today Show and the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Program for her volunteer work improving the lives of those in need in the community.
State Farm Insurance Representatives, who sponsor the program, showered the Ladies of Charity with items to make it easier to continue their ministry in the Buffalo Community; including sewing machines, material, thread, diapers, blankets and clothing.
Estelle, who was the 2017 Catholic Charities Volunteer of Year, directs the Buffalo association’s layette program. When Estelle first encountered the layette program over 30 years ago, she found nothing but a few items in a donation box. An avid sewer and quilter, she agreed to deploy her skills for the program. Under her guidance, the program blossomed into much more than a simple donation box. Today, in-need mothers and their infants are supplied with essential crib linens, clothing and diapers.
At age 96, Estelle still volunteers 30 hours a month, assembling layettes and coordinating the donations received from baby showers held by both parish Ladies of Charity groups and others throughout the community. She began another effort eight years ago in which she and others sew tote bags for home bound adults and also grocery bags for patrons of eight Catholic Charities food pantries.
Estelle also gives educational lectures on quilting, discussing the connection between quilt symbols and the Underground Railroad. When asked what drives her to continue to volunteer and serve some of the most vulnerable people in Buffalo, Estelle says it is simply how she was raised, adding that she has always looked to the example set by her mother, who believed everyone has a responsibility to give back to their communities and to make it a better place.