Holiday Haul

St. Susan Center, a soup kitchen serving food and compassion to guests throughout the Southern Chautauqua County community since 1984, recently announced the results of a pre-Christmas fundraiser that was organized by Keith Martin, Jamestown Community College athletic director.

Through the combined efforts of community sponsors such as Jayhawks Athletic Department; Media One Group; The Jock Shop; Jamestown Mattress; Jamestown Awning; Precision Scale and Balance, and Chautauqua Signs, Martin’s fundraiser brought in more than $9,000 and more than 7,300 pounds of nonperishable food donations.

Just three weeks before Christmas, Martin approached Sue Colwell, St. Susan Center executive director, with a fundraising idea.

“It was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Martin said. “(I thought) now (was) the time.”

His idea, which was to park a 26-foot truck; on loan from Jamestown Mattress – in a central location which would then be filled by food donations from passersby who wanted to support St. Susan Center, quickly built momentum. For three days during the week before Christmas, Martin stayed with the truck from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Jock Shop parking lot to accept donations of food as well as cash, checks and even gift cards from the generous people of southern Chautauqua County. The entire time, volunteers from the Jayhawks Athletic Department and other organizations were on hand to help collect and sort donations.

According to Colwell, the highly successful fundraising event couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Prior to the phone call from Martin, we’d been praying about finding funding for a larger capacity freezer to accommodate our perishable food donations,” Colwell said. “We’d determined that it would cost us approximately $10,000 for the use of a 23-foot-by-23-foot freezer which was much larger than the 10-foot-by-12-foot freezer we grew out of. Within days, Keith (Martin) called us. Just three weeks later, we had raised enough to cover the cost of our freezer.”

“Many thanks to the people who donated to St. Susan Center,” Martin said. “We know how hard people work for their money and we appreciate every single dollar spent in support of our local soup kitchen.”

“It is because of the community’s continued support that we are looking forward to helping those who need the soup kitchen most in 2014,” Colwell said.

Founded in 1984, St. Susan Center is more than a place for the economically disadvantaged. The Center, which is located at The Gateway Center in Jamestown, also serves as a safe haven for physically, mentally and emotionally challenged individuals in the Southern Chautauqua County community who feel isolated. Living by their slogan which states, “We’re here for the community because of the community,” St. Susan Center is a place where respect is served with each meal and every guest is an important part of our community. For more information, visit their website at www.stsusancenter.org or call them at 716-664-2253.