The community knows well that St. Susan Center’s Mission is to feed the hungry. On December 1st the doors opened for another reason; to honor the volunteers and community members who help accomplish the Mission. Nearly 100 people attended the Volunteer Open House and to be treated to a delicious meal prepared by Chef Carrie Gifford of the Hotel Athenaeum. “I’m happy to volunteer my time to serve the people that serve the hungry in our community every day,” said Chef Gifford.
While the evening was a celebration, there was a somber moment to remember two long time volunteers who recently passed away. The house lights were dimmed as Volunteer Teresa Swanson and Kitchen Manager Renne Wolfe lit candles in honor of Jane Campbell and Josie Marino. It was a tearful goodbye as thoughts and prayers were directed to heaven. Executive Director Jeffrey Smith said, “Jane and Josie each exemplify how one person can make a difference in their community. They came to the Center every week to serve every guest with dignity and respect as they filled each bowl with love”.
Board President Charles J. Holder addressed the Volunteers to thank them for their service to the Center and the community. “This evening gives our volunteers a small token of our appreciation. There really is no way of expressing our gratitude for all that they give.” Holder added that he was bitten by the St. Susan Center bug 10 years ago and he says there is no cure.
The highlight of the evening was to present the Sarah R. Pollaro Volunteer of the Year award to Jim Suckow. Smith and Holder were joined by Past Volunteer of the Year recipients Paul Gorenson, Darryl & Cindy Hinsdale, Pete Roman, and Margaret Johnson to present to this year’s honoree. A standing ovation was given to a humble and teary Mr. Suckow who was has been volunteering at SSC for the last 2.5 years and is most deserving of this award. Suckow said, “ I enjoy the company of the people I work for and with and I look forward to continuing to serve at the Center for many more years.”
Honored Guests Senator Catherine Young, Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, and Jacqueline Chariot Phelps of Congressman Reeds office were in attendance to each present Mr. Suckow with Community Service awards.