ITHACA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s something so simple for many of us, air conditioning. However, for the people of Loaves & Fishes of Tompkins County, it’s something they’ve gone decades without, until this summer.
That’s all thanks to a mission from a few people in the community who were able to gather donations and grant money to make it happen.
“We were at 80, 85 degrees or higher in this dining hall, and the kitchen, even worse,” said Rev. Christina Culver, Executive Director of Loaves & Fishes of Tompkins County.
Loaves & Fishes is a community kitchen at St. John’s Church in Ithaca. They serve around 140 free meals a day, Monday through Friday.
For many, it’s more than just a place to eat, but rather a safe haven from the streets.
“We know what the impact of severe heat and prolonged heat can do for us but when you think about people who are particularly vulnerable, it could really be the difference between life and death,” said Marcia Baum, who helped gather donations for the cooling system.
Baum made it her goal to cool the kitchen down, so she reached out to people in the community and with a few generous donations and some grant money, they were able to buy ceiling fans and a few air conditioning units, something they never thought they’d have.
“On the one hand, it feels like a miracle. But also, it’s just a real testament to the people in this community who care about, as god’s word says, the least of these,” Baum said.
The project costs thousands of dollars and while it was overwhelming at first, those involved soon realized they could get it done together.
“Never think that you as one person can’t do something. you can move that mountain and the good thing is knowing that once you get started you’re never alone,” Baum said.
Loaves & Fishes is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday at noon and Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30. They’re always looking for volunteers to help out.