‘We Feel Very Fortunate’
St. Susan Center Continues To Serve Amid Pandemic
The St. Susan Center in Jamestown has begun reopening its dining room to guests — though at a smaller capacity due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The dining room to the 31 Water St. soup kitchen closed March 12, opting instead to offer daily bagged lunches to-go.
“St. Susan Center is working diligently to continue to feed our guests while maintaining safety both for them and our staff and volunteers during this difficult time,” said Bonny Scott-Sleight, St. Susan Center executive director, in early April.
As of October, guests that wear a face mask can receive a meal inside. Scott-Sleight noted this week that bagged lunches are provided at the window to the facility or in the dining room. A cup of hot soup is also available.
The executive director said the spread of the coronavirus is taken very seriously and noted that all sanitizing precautions continue to be a main focus at the center.
Another change that has taken place during the pandemic is the closing of Sunday service hours. Instead, a second meal is offered on Saturday to assure anyone in need will still have a meal until our regular hours begin again on Monday. This change was due largely in response to the financial constraints put on the center.
“Without the ability to have our regularly scheduled fundraisers, it was imperative that we make this service area change,” Scott-Sleight said. “The monetary donations we receive as well as the perishables and non-perishables have been a blessing to the center as we continue to feed the hungry.”
With the availability of take-out meals, numbers served has remained steady at St. Susan Center. The number of guests served continues to be around 175 to 200 daily.
Donna, a regular volunteer at the soup kitchen, said the new form of service might fight the spread of germs, but it also takes away some of the enjoyment it brings to the volunteers.
“Having the dining room open allowed for a hot meal, but also a place for fellowship, and I know I speak for all of us when I say we truly miss that atmosphere,” Donna said.
One service that continues is the availability of the prayer room at the center. The hours are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., offered to guests by Bonnie Hurley, Kim Torrey and Rosy Kingsley.
“We at the center are thankful for those who have returned and we respect the decision for those who are choosing to stay home,” Scott-Sleight said. “We feel very fortunate to have so many volunteers willing to come back to St. Susan Center during these unprecedented time.”