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Skaneateles' Samaritan Center benefit a success

Being in need of a warm meal does not discriminate between rich or poor, young or old, educated or not.

That's why, despite thunderclouds overhead, members of the community gathered Sunday afternoon beneath a tent on the point at the Skaneateles Country Club to support the Samaritan Center during the seventh annual Beach, Blues & Bar-B-Que fundraiser.

Open every day of the year, Development Director Ann Ferro said the center brings in a mix of people much like society as a whole.

"The people who go through the serving lines are very much like themselves (the volunteers)," Ferro said.

To support the efforts of the center, attendants at the annual barbecue can find comfort in knowing the money they spend at the door or on live and silent auction items goes directly to those in need, Ferro said.

"It's a direct thing. It goes right from the people at the door to feeding the people (at the center)," she said.

Community members also understand the work they are doing by offering their support, whether through volunteering or providing financial support.

"It's a good idea. It's a worthwhile cause," said Christian Buchholz, whose wife was in charge of the silent auction.

The event offered more than 100 items, baskets and services up for bid during the silent auction and offered wine tasting and a picnic dinner provided by Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.

For the last three years, CNY Healing Arts has been the presenting sponsor for the annual event with director and founder Dr. Robert Kiltz offering the highest level of support for the fundraiser.

Samaritan Center Executive Director Mary Beth Fery said Kiltz not only supports the event, he also donates items for the silent auction, largely because the event and the work of the center are important to him.

On average, the center receives more than 80,000 guests who come through the kitchen. Over the years, Ferro said she has seen increasing numbers of families who come in for a warm meal and the comforts of a safe haven, many of them setting their tables as they would in their own homes.

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