(WSYR-TV) — The United Way of Central New York works all year with agencies and volunteers to give back to the community in the Syracuse area.

During the Day of Caring, one of the highlights includes the Samaritan Center, which provides meals for those in need. The center is open 365 days a year, serving folks across Central New York no matter the date, no matter the circumstance.

The Samaritan Center felt the struggle of the pandemic just like so many organizations and businesses, but they were able to pivot and continue making an impact despite the adversity. They continued serving the Syracuse community, but instead of having people come in to eat, they sent them home with to-go bags full of nutritious foods.

Chief Philanthropy Officer of the Samaritan Center Andrea Marshall stresses the importance of understanding that anyone can face hardships in life no matter the background. It’s important to stay kind and to offer help to those who may be struggling. Even a simple smile and a hello can be just the thing a person needs.

“Our guests are people just like you and me, Amy, they are people who have just fallen on a hard time. No one asks to be in that position, but everyone is just one step away from hardship. Knowing who our guests are, meeting them where they are, and giving them what they need at that point in time is so important,” says Andrea.

The United Way helps to ensure there are plenty of volunteers helping various philanthropic organizations throughout the community.

To learn more about the United Way or the Samaritan Center, visit UnitedWay-CNY.org and SamCenter.org.

You can also sign up for volunteer opportunities at VolunteerCNY.org.