Syracuse has many homeless and hungry in need of a hand up
You might think dining at the Gifford Street Rescue Mission (RM) would be a bummer, but you'd be wrong. It's an upbeat affair in a comfortable dining room complete with a black and white check floor, round tables, good music and friendly service. The staff is literally and figuratively cooking up a storm these days as the daily head counts are up. This past Thanksgiving the RM served 1400 dinners. That was 300 in house and 1100 to go. The folks there even piled some dinners in their outreach van and drove around looking for people on the streets who were hungry and to tired to get to the RM.
Speaking of service
Wells Fargo Bank (WFB) nationwide has a volunteer program for their employees to serve at the Rescue Mission one day a month. David Labourdette, a broker with WFB over on Plum Street in Syracuse, said service in the community is part of the corporate culture.
Volunteering at the mission is an opportunity for the WFB staff to work together on something that has nothing to do with their business.
"It makes all the difference in the world," Labourdette said, "Creates a team environment where people have your back."
He said he worked for a couple of other brokerage houses during his career but has found a real home at WFB because of the family oriented, positive culture.
"The team they have working down here at the RM is incredible, too," Labourdette said.
Christmas at the Mission
The RM's phone starts ringing come September. People are calling to volunteer their services for Christmas, so much so that RM sets up a separate phone line in October to handle these calls and has to keep a waiting list for those wanting to work on Christmas. RM's Paul LaDolce said many families want to do this together as an object lesson for their kids. As wonderful as it is for people to think of the Rescue Mission during the holidays. There is great need all year round.