Poe The Gnome Serves At The Samaritan Center

By Joe Cunningham, Internet Marketing Manager

On this dreary, humid morning, Poe and I walked down to The Samaritan Center located in the basement of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Downtown Syracuse.  We cut through the already long line of guests to arrive at the front desk to volunteer to serve breakfast.  We were greeted by a very nice young lady named Julie and the smiles of the other workers prepping the cereal, toast, eggs, donuts, and the like.

The Samaritan Center

According to the plaque over the walkway leading downstairs, St. Paul's has stood there since 1870, and The Samaritan Center since 1981, serving free meals to the less fortunate.  The many generous volunteers running around downstairs make the wheels go round and serve thousands of meals a week.

Recently Cowley has been able to work with the center around current initiatives including revamping the website and brand.

Poe Supervising at The Samaritan CenterService With A Smile

Poe and I got put on bread duty, serving the guests’ choice of bagels, toast, or English muffin with “butter, jelly, or peanut butter.”  (Poe really didn’t do any of the work, he supervised.)  The long line seemed endless: breakfast is served 7:30 to 8:30 and there were almost no pauses.

Poe and I were amazed at the warmth and cheerful service the volunteers gave: how there was a pep in their step more than anyone working on the clock in a deli or the like.

We made sure to take some shots of Poe fooling around and stayed until the end to make sure everything was spic-and-span.  The whole place echoed the long years and giving of so many kind-hearted souls.  You could see a lot of suffering in the faces of the guests, and a lot of simple joy to get a good meal in the morning, something that wasn’t coming to them otherwise.

We thanked the Director, Mary Beth, for the longstanding invitation to come down, and she kept that open to us again (Poe and I had missed the last time the Cowley crew went down to serve).  Everybody loves a gnome: the guests and volunteers were all sad to see him go (what a ham!).

We walked back to work to hit the grind, feeling a small spark of satisfaction for the small time we helped out, and a little bit more grateful for what we’ve been given.


For more information on how you can help at The Samaritan Center, visit their website at www.samcenter.org & "like" them on Facebook.  For more adventures of Poe, follow him on Pinterest and Instagram.

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