SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – No questions asked. That’s the one message the Samaritan Center has 365 days a year. The soup kitchen serves three hot meals daily to those in need. But as Onondaga County is continuing its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people expected to attend Thanksgiving at the center is expected to be low.
“When we were up and running before COVID, it would be like a couple hundred,” Brenda Mims, the kitchen manager said. “I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a little less than that.”
Brenda Mims has been at the Samaritan Center for 20 years. “I came, and just never left.” Over the past two decades, she’s developed a relationship with the guests that come in everyday.
“When I’m walking on the street, they’re like, ‘Hey lady! What are you doing over here?’ And I’m like, I’m a west-sider as well as you,” Mims said. “And I say hi. Because if I can’t say hi outside of here, who would I be?”
Mims said that people have strayed away from coming into the Samaritan Center facility during the past year and there’s no way of predicting how many people will come to the dinner. “I’m hoping we’ll get at least to 150, but there’s just no telling until they actually decide to walk through that door,” Mims said.
Even if the Thanksgiving crowd is smaller, Mims will continue to live out her passion of helping people.” I used to tell my daughter, “I don’t have any skills!”And she says, “Yeah, you help people. That’s a skill. Not everyone can do that.”
No matter how many people walk through the door, the Samaritan Center will go on to feed anyone with no questions asked.