The Rescue Mission broke ground Wednesday on a new $5.8 million expansion project to remodel its food service center in Syracuse. The much-needed upgrade has been about two years in the making. With lines often out the door, the additional space is designed to serve more meals to people and cut down on wait times.
Carolyn Hendrickson with the Rescue Mission is ready to help the growing need for meals and housing.
"This project in particular is near and dear to my heart. I'm so excited to see us at this juncture and seeing the project come to fruition."
A long-time client of the mission for the past five years is Angela Jackson. With three kids and another on the way, she’s looking forward to the expansion being not only larger but, safer.
"It's going to be great. They needed it. They needed more space in here. A lot of people don't come here because they have to wait in line. A lot of people don't come because they don't want their kids around other people, sometimes homeless people. I don't bring my kids either, but I will now."
The expansion will create two separate dining areas which the Rescue Mission’s CEO Dan Sieberg says will offer a special family dining room.
"It's helping people get back on their feet. I can't tell people enough how many kids come through here. When schools are closed, we see more kids with their families coming through because those kids typically eat at school. This is foundational blocks for a child to get good nutrition so they can get their school work done, stay up on their education because they're not worried about a meal."
The Rescue Mission has already raised $4.8 million for the project, and is now asking the public for $1 million in donations to reach its goal. Sieberg says the center was originally created to only hold about 75 people at time, which just doesn’t keep up with over the 700 meals the Mission serves daily. The money will triple the seating and update a 22-year old kitchen and add workspace to teach residents culinary skills. More information is at Rescue Mission Alliance.org.