Syracuse's Gael of the Year works to fight hunger in the city

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - One of the people being honored at the St. Patrick’s parade this Saturday in Syracuse has worked for years to fight hunger within the city.

Michele Jordan’s work calls to mind the famine that brought many Irish families to Central New York in the first place, and she is the 2017 Gael of the Year.

It’s a simple idea that Jordan uses to help people.

‘Our mission is to support the food pantries and the people that use them. That's basically it,” Jordan said.

The Interreligious Food Consortium started more than 30 years ago when the city's churches linked arms to fight hunger. 

Jordan has guided the tiny agency for the past 15 years, helping to feed the hungry with a few volunteers, some loyal board members and generous financial backers, and sheer determination. 

Jordan and her volunteers work with over 70 food pantries all around Onondaga County.  She knows where they are, and when they're open, which is critical information for people in need.

“We had a gentleman call this morning who said his food pantry was closed.  And we found out it was closed because it was the wrong day.  They are not open every day,” said IFC board memeber George Lawrence

She deflects credit for what the IFC has accomplished over the years to her volunteers. 

She's grateful that the Saint Patrick's Hunger Project raises awareness of the challenges in the community, and thankful for all the food and donations that are collected each year—enough to keep the shelves in this old warehouse stocked well into the summer. 

The Saint Patrick’s Hunger Project is collecting food and cash donations, before and during the parade.  Look for the black barrels along the parade route, and at Kinney Drug stores around Central New York.

Last year, the project resulted in more than 57,000 meals to feed the hungry.


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