Good Samaritans gathering in Skaneateles

Exactly 342 guests attended the Samaritan Center's Beach, Blues and Bar-B-Que in Skaneateles on Sunday Aug. 1. The event grossed nearly $50,000 and will net close to $45,000 said executive director Mary Beth Frey.

Samaritan board member Larry Palmieri said that every dollar collected puts a meal on a plate for one person in need.

The reason we can net out so well is all the donations, Frey said, noting that the food was donated by the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Middle Ages brewing donated beer, plus the generosity of the local merchants and artists donating items for the silent auction.

"Large part of cost taken off the table because of this generosity," she said.

Speaking of generosity

The last auction item of the evening was a surprise. Skaneateles Country Club's notorious barman Al Collela not only donated his service, but also allowed himself to be auctioned off and taken home for good in the form of a life size uniformed foam-board cutout complete with bar towel in hand. Known affectionatley as Flat Al.

When Collela's wife heard of the scheme, she said he'd probably garner 39 cents. It turns out she was off by exactly $749.61.

Samaritan stats

The center serves breakfast Monday through Friday in its location on Montgomery Street in downtown Syracuse. The numbers have risen from 30 people a day with a continental breakfast to 150 to 170 people being served a full breakfast.

Dinner is Monday through Sunday. The Samaritan can serve between 150 and 250.

The total number of meals served in 2009 was 101,000.

Frey said they use 400 volunteers a month with organizations such as St. James Episcopal's congregation and Rotary Clubs volunteering to run weekend meals.

Interested in volunteering? Frey said, give us a ring at 472-0650 or go to the samaritancenter.com where there are directions and an application for signing up as a volunteer.

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