3 Questions – with Lia DiNunzio


Recently I had the pleasure to speak with our very own Miss Buffalo International 2014, Lia DiNunzio. Born and raised in Tonawanda, she recently purchased a home in the city of Buffalo near Elmwood Avenue. She’s a graduate of Buffalo Seminary, and currently a student at The University of Buffalo where she studies political science, and has aspirations of a law degree. On top of all of that she is also an avid supporter of Hospice in Buffalo, as well as many local businesses. She plans on running for Miss New York International this fall, and with her charm, intelligence, and stunning good looks, she should be a shoe in.

We recently sat down at Spot Coffee to discuss the 3 questions we had for her!

1. “Knowing that you are highly involved with Hospice in Buffalo,  what does the Hospice Organization do for our local community?”

Hospice Buffalo is such an important organization for our community.  Hospice’s mission is to provide comfort and care to those who are experiencing life-threatening illnesses, as well as their families.  Nearly everyone I know has someone in their life who has been touched by Hospice care.


Losing a loved-one is a very heartbreaking, yet inevitable experience. When I lost my mother to a brief 5-week battle with breast cancer, I didn’t know how to deal with my emotions. I wanted to be destructive and reckless because I was so confused and angry. Thankfully, the Hospice Foundation of Buffalo was by my side. The professionals at Hospice taught me how to grieve and express my feelings in a healthy way. My mission as Miss Buffalo International 2014 is use my volunteerism to shed light on the good work being done by Hospice right here in WNY.

Not only does Hospice provide nurses and Home Health Aides, they also provide bereavement counseling. Perhaps unknown to some, Hospice care is covered under most health insurances including Medicare so you can be at ease during your journey.

Locally, Hospice hosts their annual “Camp Blue Skies” for children ages 7 through 17 who’ve recently lost a loved one. Hospice Buffalo also works with the VA of Western New York to provide care for local veterans, from music therapy to advance care planning. Hospice care can also be found in over six of our local Hospitals, including Sister’s Hospital which is where my mother was cared for.

Equally important, Hospice gathers volunteers and local Buffalonians at many fundraisers and events in our city. West Herr of Buffalo recently raised over $22,000.00 at the Hospice Memorial Walk, and Phillips Lytle LLP is a Piñata sponsor at this year’s Summer Affair! I’ve met so many wonderful volunteers and supporters through Hospice,  I am grateful for all of them.

Our city is so touched by the care and support Hospice Buffalo provides, it’s important that we continue supporting the organization.  You can donate to Hospice, in honor of someone you love, on my website www.liadinunzio.com/hospice.


2. “Having caught up with you on Dyngus Day at the Parade on Broadway, I was struck by some of the fantastic photos I saw of you with local residents.  Keeping with that what would you do to improve living conditions for Buffalo’s poorest residents?”

The opportunity to help the poorest residents of Buffalo begins with recognizing the trends in certain segments of the city.  Buffalo’s poverty rate is over 30%, more than twice the national average according to the US Census, and community stakeholders and local representatives need to be engaged on a grassroots level.


Education and youth programs are crucial investments for the economically disadvantaged.  Programs like “Say Yes to Education” are great for students, committing $15 million to public schools, including money to send local graduates to college.  A strong education, from the start, provides children the tools they need to make a difference in the community.

Some of Buffalo’s poorest residents live in unique, historical neighborhoods on the East and West sides of Buffalo.  The architectural details and local history have sparked renewed interest in many of these communities, and their renovation is an important part of bringing value and good neighbors together.

Additionally, it is important for those who are more fortunate to give back to those in need.  I am grateful for the model of volunteerism and support I’ve been provided with through my high school education at the Buffalo Seminary. I hope to continue expanding my involvement in the community.  Whether a donation of a Thanksgiving dinner or volunteering at St. Luke’s Mission, there are countless opportunities to make a difference in small doses.  Encourage your family to volunteer together. Instilling good character into your children at a young age will produce a sense of accomplishment that is very humbling.

Overall, I think in order to improve the living conditions for Buffalo’s poorest residents our community we must first draw attention to the need for improvement, continue to educate our youth in the public schools, recognize the potential for growth our poorest communities have, and lastly, give back to our neighbors who are in need.

3. “Finally, what do you hope to accomplish during your reign as Miss Buffalo International 2014?”

My duty is to serve our Queen City and meet as many “Good Neighbors” as possible before competing on October 2, 2014 for Miss New York International.  I am using this opportunity to highlight Hospice of Buffalo, and raise some money for the organization along the way.


Already during my reign, I have been so honored to represent small local businesses including the new “Boutique N’ the Square” owned by a wonderful mother and strong businesswomen. Great restaurants including Vera Pizzeria and Agave on Elmwood. I’m also proud to represent the culture of each neighborhood, from the growing Canalside and BlackRock communities, to traditional Allentown and Elmwood Villages. I have so much pride and confidence in our community my smile truly shines because of it. Most importantly, my fellow Buffalonians have made me who I am today. Traveling the state during my reign has made my sense of home grow more established in its roots.

I hope to continue my journey supporting Buffalo in it’s growth while raising money for Hospice Buffalo, and I will always support our local business owners and the rebirth of Buffalo’s glory.

We hope you will support Lia as she becomes our fashion correspondent here at What’s Going On In Buffalo, but more importantly later this fall as she runs for Miss New York International!




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