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Samaritan provides hot meals for those in need 365 days a year- no questions asked- allowing Samaritan to serve as a community kitchen table for those struggling with hunger and poverty. Samaritan is a place where, with the help of 9 staff and over 800 volunteers a month, individuals and families find not only a warm nutritious meal but support, acceptance, connection, hope and love. Onondaga County ties for tenth in the state for percentage of individuals who are food insecure- meaning they have limited or uncertain access
to adequate food.
Over 800 volunteers a month participate in the work of the Samaritan Center- helping with meals, collecting toiletries, sitting on committees, maintaining the beautiful building and so much more. Samaritan exists because this community believes no one should go hungry and that we should be there for each other in times of need. Both individuals and groups volunteer- once a year, four times a week, and every combination in between- to ensure that there is someone there to share a smile and offer support every day of the year.
We'd love to have you join us!
Our support services team works one-on-one with individuals to help address the varied and complex circumstances that bring folks to the Samaritan Center for food. Issues such as unemployment or underemployment, housing issues or homelessness, assistance accessing benefits, legal services or health care and so much more. Community agencies are also available on-site to ease the connection to necessary supports. Each interaction begins from relationship, working with, not for, our guests in order to support them on their own unique journey.
Twice a week Samaritan operates a basic needs closet where guests are able to select items, such as soap, toothpaste and deodorant, they need most. Surprisingly, these types of items are not covered by SNAP and are among the more expensive items on any shopping list. The vast majority of the supplies in the Basic Needs Closet are donated by the community to help provide our guests the dignity of self-care. Check out the items most in need here if
you'd like to coordinate a collection!
My Place provides the basic essentials for someone moving from a shelter or inadequate housing into a new apartment. Basic items such as pots and pans, dishes, and sheets help make a house a home. These items help turn 4 empty walls into a celebrated step forward and represent a community by the side of someone taking this important step. Creating My Place boxes is a great way for you or your group to make a direct difference for someone ready to move into new housing.
Learn more about My Place here!
In partnership with the CNY Diaper Bank, Samaritan hosts a monthly diaper distribution for enrolled families- providing a supply of diapers, baby wipes and other essentials as available to support our young families and their littles. Infants and toddlers require 8-10 diapers a day, typically costing over $100 per month. This places untold stress on parents as they make difficult decisions between diapers and other necessities. This program works to help alleviate some of that stress by freeing up resources for food, rent and other household needs.
The Onondaga County Health Department's 2019-2021 Community Health Assessment and Improvement Plan, showed that half of Syracuse census tracts qualify as food deserts, and more than a quarter of Onondaga County residents are food insecure- meaning they have limited or uncertain access to adequate food. The U.S. Census Bureau ranks Syracuse as the 18th poorest city in the country. The city’s overall child poverty rate of 48.4% is first in the country among U.S. cities with 100,000 people or more. This means individuals and families without the resources to provide the basic necessities of life for themselves and their families- including food. Everyday, individuals are making the frightening decision between paying their rent or keeping their lights on and eating. Samaritan Center exists to provide access to nutritious food and the supports that help bring additional resources and stability for some of our community's most vulnerable.
We gratefully accept new or gently used seasonal clothing donations, and are able to accept one bag of clothing at a time. Unfortunately we do not have the capacity to accept general clothing donations outside this list. 75% of our guests are adult men so this is our greatest need, although we will accept clothing for women and children.
My Place box items may be new OR gently used! It's a great way to downsize, repurpose and reuse items that you no longer need. Pair those with an item or two you find on sale and you can create the perfect box for someone just starting out! Better yet, get your friend together and divide up the items on the list and you'll have a complete box before you know it! We do ask that My Place boxes arrive at Samaritan Center completed. That way we have all the items ready to go for that excited individual with a new home.
Deliveries are accepted Monday through Friday between 9am and Noon. We do ask that you call ahead to coordinate your arrival so we can be sure to be ready for you!