Area soup kitchens serve hundreds of meals every day. Guests come from different backgrounds and have different reasons for why they're utilizing the service. But there's one similarity soup kitchens in the Syracuse area are noticing and it's who is coming through the doors. YNN's Iris St. Meran has more on a recent shift in one demographic.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Last year, the Samaritan Center served 114,000 meals. They are on track to do the same, if not more, this time around. What's different this year is who is coming in for a hot meal.
Samaritan Center Resource and Referral Specialist Julie Gilbert said, "The increase in younger people. Whether it be people with younger children, just the meal that we served tonight, we had seven children under the age of four and also people that are younger, as in their teens and twenties."
This is something other agencies are also seeing. The Rescue Mission says it’s the same there, with more women and families, but why? Gilbert says the answer is different for each person, but it is a noticeable shift.
"They all come here through different circumstances, but what unites them is that everybody needs to eat and everybody is in need of that basic human dignity that we can provide here along with a meal," Gilbert said.
One of the things they're doing here at the Samaritan Center to help this younger demographic is to give them information on resources to help them out of their situation.
Gilbert added, "Agencies for young mothers. Agencies that will help people achieve things, like a GED, or help people get basic job training. With those kinds of friendships and partnerships in our community, we're able to further address those needs."
Everyone's needs will be different, but they hope all who stop by will feel the same: Welcomed, the first step to improve their lives.