JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) — This week’s bitter winter cold is having a big impact on the needy of Jamestown, increasing demand for the city’s only soup kitchen.
As temperatures drop, more people stop in for a meal and a warm place to eat it.
“We’re seeing an increase of folks coming into the center to have lunch with us, and we’re seeing an increase about an average of 20 a day so there is a few more extra folks coming in,” says Cherie Rowland, St. Susan’s Center Executive Director.
Folks from all different situations utilize the St. Susan’s Center not just for a good meal.
“We are a warming center for Jamestown, and we are opened from 11 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon and we do allow our folks to stay if they need to keep warm,” explains Rowland.
With extreme wind chill forecasted for Friday, an influx is expected.
“From my experience, yes we’ll see some more folks than not during the wintertime, but we also have a big increase during the summer when it’s hot because we can offer the air conditioning and the cooling center as well,” says Rowland.
The center offers meat, vegetables, salad, fruit, soup, and unlimited water and coffee six days a week.
“We have two chefs, we have Cammie Hodnett and we have Larry Riffle, they both are cooks here at St. Susan’s and they cook awesome meals, they’re so good. Today we had Swiss steak and mashed potatoes and beans and salad and peaches and dessert so it was very good, it was delicious,” says Rowland.
The Mental Health Association operates a ten bed emergency homeless shelter in the same building as St. Susan’s. Those who are in need of a bed can contact the association to see if there is space available and to get access to other services.
“For the month of January, we served 3,480 folks, and the food is a major part of what supported us from the Holiday Haul. Any donations that you make to St. Susan’s is used for the folks that utilize our services. Donations also help us keep the lights on. I do have a small staff, but I also have 100 volunteers that help us out everyday,” explains Rowland.
Those interested in helping the soup kitchen continue their mission can make donations in person at the center or online at stsusancenter.org.