Syracuse University departments help feed the homeless as part of National Volunteer Week
University College, SU’s Division of Student Affairs and SU’s Community Service Affinity Group are among the 30 organizations across Central New York that have joined the Corporate Volunteer Council’s (CVC) inaugural Signature Project, to take place during National Volunteer Week, April 18-24. The CVC, in partnership with the United Way, is coordinating a broad range of volunteer opportunities to serve and support the clients of the Samaritan Center, an interfaith effort that feeds the homeless and needy men, women and children of Syracuse.
Eileen Jevis, manager of public relations at University College and chair of the logistics committee for the Signature Project, says that the number of organizations signing on to participate far exceeded expectations. “Although we organize several different volunteer projects each year, this is our first year focusing our efforts on such a large scale for the entire week of National Volunteer Week,” says Jevis. “We are thrilled that so many organizations have committed their time and resources to this project. The combined efforts of leading companies such as Carrier Corp.; Bond, Schoeneck and King; Excellus Blue Cross; National Grid; Syracuse University; and others will make a critical impact on those who are hungry and in need. The response was so great that our volunteer efforts will extend well beyond the week of April 18 with the intent to provide services for the remainder of the month.”
University College has collected more than 100 books and 150 toiletry items to donate to the Samaritan Center clients and will be baking and delivering desserts to be served during the noontime meal.
Darya Rotblat, director of SU’s Office of Off Campus and Community Services, has rallied students to travel to the Samaritan Center to serve a meal. “We are excited to be able to come together as a division to help the community,” says Rotblat. “It will be a special experience for our students.”
“Between 250 and 300 clients are served breakfast and lunch each day,” says Jevis. “Whatever we can do to make a small difference in the lives of those who are struggling is very rewarding. My hope is that next year, we can expand SU’s participation in the project.”
Cora Thomas, facilitator of SU’s Community Service Affinity Group, says that this project fits well with the mission of the group. “The community service group is committed to making a difference in our community through service,” says Thomas. “When Eileen came to us and asked us to participate, we were more than happy to help.”
In addition to sponsoring or serving meals, the Samaritan Center is looking for volunteers to overhaul bathrooms or help paint and clean the facility, says Jevis.
For more information on the CVC’s Signature Project, contact Jevis at (315) 443-3527 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about volunteer opportunities at the Samaritan Center, contact Julie Ann Gilbert, volunteer and guest services coordinator, at email@example.com or (315) 472-0650.