A major renovation and expansion of the Rescue Mission’s food services center got a big boost Wednesday from Key Bank. They’re donating $200,000 toward the $6.5 million project that will double the size of the facility. Chair of the Rescue Mission Capital Campaign David Allyn says the donation will help provide much needed updates.
"It doesn't have burners in the back, so what they've been working with for decades is incredible. It is very much needed, and we're excited about the opportunity to serve all these meals in a dignified way."
Rescue Mission COO Corey Kociela describes how the new dining area will be more accommodating for guests.
"You can see about 200, 250 people come through the food service line for one meal. We would love the opportunity to bring 200 people in here at one time so no one's waiting outside."
The current facility serves up to 800 meals a day in a dining room designed to seat a maximum of 100 people. David Allyn says they’ll be able to serve meals more efficiently:
"We'll actually have two serving areas; right now we have just one. The serving areas are very popular among our volunteers, so providing the [additional space] is a nice thing. It also means we can get more food to people quicker."
KeyBank actually doubled the requested donation amount because CEO Beth Mooney says the project provides a double opportunity to help both underserved populations and students in the Syracuse School District.
"High school students can come here and be trained and learn the skills of how to work in a culinary operation. As they graduate, they'll have the opportunity to leverage those skills for gainful employment."
Some of the planned improvements include more storage for food donations, additional restrooms, and a more welcoming, home-like atmosphere. Construction is expected to begin next spring.