Buffalo Wild Wings, Save-A-Lot share Christmas spirit

The Vindicator (Youngstown)


Kristen Calo, an employee of Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in downtown Youngstown, makes sure this food box is full. Buffalo Wild Wings and Save-A-Lot stores teamed up to give out the food boxes to 200 needy families Tuesday here and in Niles.

The Vindicator (Youngstown)


Among the food recipients were Robert Jones, left, and Ricky Paige, both of Youngstown.

The Vindicator (Youngstown)


Brad Yaskowitz, an employee of Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in downtown Youngstown, hauls eggs donated by his employer and Save-A-Lot stores to needy families. The restaurant here and in Niles passed out food Wednesday in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.




Vincent Scott has no special plans for Christmas, which likely will include a visit with an aunt and taking his daily morning walk.

Nevertheless, the self-employed Youngstown man is thankful for something that promises to make his holiday brighter — and quite a bit heartier.

“It’s made my day,” Scott said, referring to a one-hour Christmas-dinner giveaway Wednesday at Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar, 50 W. Federal St., in Central Square downtown. “This is beautiful; I love it.”

Scott was among those who received free boxes containing holiday dinners after area Buffalo Wild Wings and Save-A-Lot stores teamed up to give a variety of food items to 200 families in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

Individuals and families in need took home items such as turkeys, stuffing, canned goods, milk, eggs, bread, cereal and cookies.

Recipients were preselected from area churches, including Catholic Charities of Mahoning and Trumbull counties as well as Neighborhood Ministries of Youngstown, noted Doug Esenwein, Buffalo Wild Wings’ regional manager.

“This should be able to sustain families for at least a few days,” Esenwein said, adding that 150 families were from Mahoning County and 50 from Trumbull.

One of those happy to assist with the effort was Jessica Klaus, a manager at the downtown eatery.

Her duties included talking with and wishing happy holidays to those who came to pick up their boxes.

“I’m an excited server. We want it to be personal,” Klaus said, adding that this was her first time participating in the annual giveaway.

Klaus said she recognizes how difficult the holidays can be for many people, especially those who lack food and shelter. Wednesday’s effort was largely to let recipients and others know that someone cares, she explained.

Klaus advised those who need help or are suffering from the holiday blues to take advantage of assistance offered by many agencies, serve other people in need and find volunteer opportunities.

She also praised the estimated 15 volunteers who, among other things, carried boxes to recipients’ vehicles.

Before Wednesday’s gathering, Buffalo Wild Wings had “celebrity” bartenders who worked in two-hour shifts to collect tips to help fund the effort, Esenwein explained.

Those who acted as bartenders included Mahoning County Commissioners Anthony T. Traficanti and John A. McNally IV, longtime area grocer Henry P. Nemenz, Boardman Firefighters Union Local 1176, Rob Tamburro and Bill Griffin of Armstrong Cable and members of the Youngstown police and fire departments.

“It’s a fun time and created a really great atmosphere of giving in our restaurant,” Esenwein said.