This charity has given me reason to keep going.
B.E.Strong716, incorporated as a 501(c) (3) charitable organization in October, 2021 has over a single year contributed to more than a dozen agencies or individuals in need in the Western New York service area. The charity was created by Junie Eimiller of Bemus Point in memory of her son Bannon, age 22, who was struck by a car and died in the Town of Ellery on Mother’s Day 2021. Bannon was a compassionate service oriented young man. The mission of B.E.Strong716 is twofold: (1) to make the 716 community stronger one donation at a time by giving to people and causes that would have mattered to Bannon and (2) to help others who are grieving. The 716 service area comprises the counties of Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus.
Junie entitled the non-profit B.E.Strong716 as a continuation of an Instagram page that Bannon and his weight lifting companion Jeremy Bush created to highlight their physical progress. The page eventually attracted thousands of followers from around the country. “Now,” says Ms. Eimiller, “we are using it to honor Bannon’s legacy by incorporating his initials into a charity that will benefit the community.”
Among the agencies B.E.Strong716 has donated to are: Aspire of Western New York Helping Hands program, the Jannell John Breast Cancer Benefit, All for Amy King scholarship Fund, Jamestown Area Midget Football, Hospice and the new JTNY Powerhouse Skatepark. Donations often reflect Bannon’s interests. Bannon had been a tutor and mentor to a special needs child in the Aspire program. He was an enthusiastic participant in Jamestown Area Midget Football and a high school football athlete. All his life he had been an avid skateboarder. It was at the opening of the JTNY Powerhouse Skatepark on October 1 that the Gazette caught up with Junie Eimiller. B.E.Strong716 hosted an informational table during the ceremonies and later contributed to the purchase of three benches and two tables dedicated to Bannon’s memory.
In keeping with the second of B.E.Strong716’s missions the non-profit has contributed to a number of GoFundMe campaigns in support of local families in grief. In May, shortly after the shootings at Tops Market on Jefferson Street in Buffalo, it collected food items for distribution and served free meals to the community in Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.
B.E.Strong716 will host its second annual Italian Dinner Fundraiser Saturday November 19 at the Elks Lodge on Fourth Street in Jamestown. Tickets for the event have sold out. Junie Eimiller told the Gazette that she is touched by the community’s response to her charity. Said Junie: “This community has surrounded me with Love, Compassion and Generosity.”
For more information or to make a donation consult www.bestrong716.org.