More Partners Announced for 'Hire Ground' Initiative to Put Panhandlers to Work

Mar 14, 2019

Hire Grounder Founder John Tumino speaking at press conference at Destiny USA.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

More business partners were announced Thursday for a new program that aims to get panhandlers on a more promising path starting later this spring.   ‘Hire Ground’ is getting financial support from Onondaga County, and will give people a chance to work three days a week. 

Destiny USA tenants including Panera Bread, Carhartt, and Eddie Bauer are joining the effort with support donations. County Executive Ryan McMahon says the program will combat Syracuse’s poverty issue by giving panhandlers a sense of purpose and a paycheck.

Hire Ground partners at Destiny USA pose with members of "In My Father's Kitchen."
Credit John Smith / WAER News

“To give them hope and a piece of dignity through work and nothing teaches more dignity than earning a paycheck.”

In My Father’s Kitchen Owner John Tumino is spearheading the initiative.  He believes there’s potential in everyone struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues. He wants to engage with them to offer assistance.  

“Encourage them…hey you did 5 hours today in the middle of your suffering, how about we help you get sober, we help you get connected to a doctor, help you get connected to service providers and then help you get full-time employment somewhere.”

Tumino says he hopes that other partners like Ziebart and Drivers Village will inspire others to get involved. The program is slated to start in May.  Businesses interested in partnering can go to