Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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Depew Boys & Girls Club moves on after fire

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Buffalo: Depew Boys & Girls Club moves on after fire
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DEPEW, N.Y. -- A drawing in the front hallway reads, "Better to give than receive." For decades, that's exactly what the Depew Boys & Girls Club has done. But now it needs help.

A fire ripped through it New Year's Day and destroyed almost everything inside.

"When I showed up there was smoke coming out of all the windows and it was pretty well engulfed," said Jeff Kupka, Program Director at the club.

Kupka has been a member of the Depew club for 35 years. He spent Wednesday assessing the damage which included tables, chairs, even a Christmas tree all ruined.

To many in the community it's more than just a building, it's where they grew up.

"It's an institution, Kupka said. "If you're a member here or have ever walked through the doors, you understand what I mean."

Kupka says the club serves as many as 100 children a day and hosts after school programs and other events for both kids and adults.

Many of the first responders who helped put the fire out Tuesday also had a personal connection to the club.

"Guys that were in there with fire suits on were members of the club. I saw them coming out and all said hi to me. One guy that came out said he tried to save a couple pictures from the wall in my office and he put it on the desk under a tarp," said Kupka.

The future of the building itself is still being determined, but for the time being the club will use the Lancaster Boys & Girls Club location. The Depew School District is also offering a district building as a temporary home.

The club is hoping to make a comeback and there are several ways to help out. A fundraiser has been set up at . You can also find other information at .

Donations can be made at any Key Bank branch. Just say you want to donate to the Depew Boys and Girls Club fund.

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