St. Susan Centers history is the result of a tragedy and a dream. The dream was first articulated by an ecumenical group of clergy from the Southern Chautauqua region, who wished to provide… “In response to the Gospel, we freely offer meals, fellowship, dignity and respect to all who come through our doors” There was great love and unmistakable worth in their dream, but it lacked the necessary funding to be put into action.
A tragic car accident that took the life of a young downstate New Yorker named Susan Tornebene led to a very special gift that brought the dream to fruition. While Susan was cared for in WCA Hospital, the clergy of many local churches and our community surrounded her and her family with loving care. Although Susan did not survive the accident, in her honor, her family donated the funds to start St. Susan Center. St. Susan Center opened its doors on February 1, 1984.
Their gift has nurtured our community for thirty years in countless ways. They shared with us an indelible lesson in love and we share that gift by offering “food, fellowship, dignity and respect to all who come through our doors.”
The first home of St. Susan Center was in the former St. James Catholic School. The soup kitchen was the guest of the church, paying no rent, utilities or fees of any kind. When the school was sold in 2006, St. Susan Center launched a major capital/relocation campaign.
How and What’s next..
for Jamestown’s soup kitchen.
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know..
When, Why, Who
Today, the Center occupies part of the former Chautauqua Hardware building on Water Street. Through the auspices of the Community Development Association and the generosity of the greater Jamestown community, the Center is barrier-free and beautiful and, once again, secure.
St. Susan Center hosts meetings, events, annual dinners, special parties, holiday gatherings and more. Every time we open our doors, it is to build community and increase the understanding and support of our mission to feed the hungry.
We serve Monday through Friday, from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. We lock our doors at 2:45 p.m. On Saturday, our dining room is open for service from 12:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. We are closed on Sundays. No one is turned away. Each day our guests are served a nutritional meal that includes a hot entrée, fruit, vegetables, and a healthy snack to go. We are closed only on New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day.
We also depend on donations from the community around us, both monetary and food products. Our community is such a huge support system for us and keeps us going from day to day.