In 1984, St. Susan Center opened its doors in an effort to feed our community. This was the year that a postage stamp was only 20 cents and a company called Apple released a personal computer. The price for a loaf of Wonder bread was 71 cents and a new car could be purchased for about $6,000. Life in Jamestown was a little simpler and the economy was strong but a group of local clergy felt there was a need to open the soup kitchen.
Thirty-one years later St. Susan Center has achieved another milestone: serving the two- millionth meal. To better understand this number, if 2 million of our meal trays were lined up end to end from Jamestown, they would stretch to Chicago. Two million meals would feed the population of the city of Buffalo eight times. With two million meals, 125,000 gallons of milk or juice were served.
“We served this milestone meal on Wednesday,” states Jeffrey Smith, St. Susan Center Executive Director. “It took almost twenty-one years to reach the one-millionth meal and less than ten years to reach the second million. This reflects the growing need in the community better than any other statistic we can share.”
“At this milestone, the community must be recognized for their long standing support of the Center. The whole community is with us as we mark this occasion in the history of not only the Center, but the city of Jamestown,” said Mr. Smith.
A few weeks ago at Jamestown Community College, the documentary “A Place at the Table” was viewed and then followed by an open forum to discuss the global effects of food insecurity. Although federal and state governments are being looked to for changes in policy, on a local level the issue is being addressed by community gardens, food drives, and generous individual monetary donations.
Currently there is a nationwide focus on food insecurity. The 1996 World Food Summit defined food security as physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food by all people at all times. The prevalence of food insecurity in the United States in 2012 affected 15% of households according to the USDA National Food Security Survey. This means that 49 million people, including 8.3 million children, don’t have access to food to meet their dietary needs.
St. Susan Center was opened in memory of a young girl, Susan Tornabene who lost her life in a car accident. To thank the community and local clergy for the family’s support and Susan’s care while at WCA Hospital, her parents made the first monetary gift to establish Jamestown’s soup kitchen.
“The Center continues to thrive due to the numerous hours of service by volunteers, a very dedicated board of directors and staff, and the extremely generous community who raises funds and gives donations of food and money throughout the year,” states Mr. Smith. Many local businesses also donate services to help the center.
For more information about how you can help St. Susan Center, visit our website at www.stsusancenter.org or call us at 664-2253.