Rescue Mission Alliance of Syracuse

Syracuse has a similar problem as Detroit in relation to the access to an adequate amount of healthy food. In Detroit it is mediated by Urban Farming and large companies such as Whole Foods, implementing low-cost versions of their stores in the afflicted areas. The Rescue Mission serves a similar purpose to the low-income populations of Syracuse. They provide food to anyone who enters their doors, temporary housing for those requiring it and provide support services for those people getting back on their feet. The Syracuse model is reflected in the efforts of the Unitarian Church that we stayed at in Detroit.

The Rescue Mission

A Christian run foundation whose mission statement is “No one should have to be hungry or homeless. It can happen for so many reasons and once there, it can be a difficult road back. You can help the Rescue Mission work to end hunger and homelessness by join our mission”.

Their main objectives are to

  • End Hunger
  • End Homelessness
  • Outreach
  • Spiritual Care

Founded by a group of local churches to reach out to the homeless of Syracuse in 1887. Founding mission was to bring men, women and children to Christ, to offer spiritual and physical renewal and to help those most in need to provide food and shelter.

Disclaimer: “They recognize that the community is a multi-faith community and that they do not discriminate. People are not required to get spiritual care in order to receive the services of the organization. Freedom”

Food: Served at the Rescue Mission Center

“The number of people who need a meal has risen to record levels in the last few months, he said. The mission had been serving about 650 meals a day in Syracuse but since May the number spiked to more than 800 and sometimes more than 900 a day toward the end of every month” Alan Thornton, President

    • 3 Meals offered per day, every day a year

    • Volunteer work for serving meals (Supervised by paid employees)

      • Anyone in the community, including Alpha Phi Omega (Community Service Fraternity)

      • 55 people per day- Syracuse University

      • Many local community members serve on the weekends

    • Recipients don’t have to hear the gospel to receive the food, No Preaching, Not forced to repent for sins.. Belief that God should be experienced on one’s own terms.

    • There are permanent staff are employed by the organization and receive a salary

      • Facility Managers, Spiritual Advisors (Making Bank), Administration

      • Unpaid Internships – Students and Community Members

      • Volunteers – Can serve meals/work anytime you want.

    • Supported by generous donations of individuals, companies, churches, schools, community participation, which allows for low food cost

    • Donations

      • Panera Bread – Donates leftover pastries and stuff

      • Individual can donate any non-perishable food items or household items

    • Statistics

      • $2.19 provides a meal for 1 child = $45.00 a week feeds a child

      • Last Year the food service center served 225,000 Meals



  • What is the master plan that has been developed?

    • Increase housing by 50-60 Units

    • Conversion of the Recreation Center to expansion of emergency shelter and adjacent day center

  • Is the Rescue Mission working with local large scale grocery stores like Wegman’s to get their food?

  • How is the Rescue Mission making its presence known to those in need other than the Homeless Intervention Services Team? Is it just word of mouth? If someone is hungry but not homeless, who tells them about the Rescue Mission?

  • How does the Rescue Mission get volunteers?

  • What is the percentage of paid staff vs. volunteers?

  • What is the structure of the hierarchy within the non-profit?

  • Do the chaplains have congregations outside of the rescue mission? Are they paid?

  • What are the success rates of the work placement programs/initiatives?


  • They do not provide homeless shelters for women, only men. Does the new master plan having women’s housing in mind?

  • Faith-Based Organization, but it is more progressive than most. They will not force the word of God down your throat along with your food.

  • Transparent Financial Agenda

Syracuse Case Studies

In order to better understand our own ability to act in  context we have researched NGOs in the Syracuse area in regards to their tactics, motives and institutional structures similar to our approach towards Project 2. Our intention in doing this is to be able to define our own social initiative  in more concrete terms. To follow are our findings.


Project 3

U of M and SYR

It’s too bad we didn’t have class today because I felt very rushed in class last week to decide on what our final project will be. I think we should meet before class Tues the 22nd to get some ideas together. To SYR and U or M, Becky and I talked about doing a project related to communication. Communication could possibly be the theme of a curated exhibition at the Store Front (the Store Front is a space that is operated by the Architecture program in downtown Syracuse, we use it to get the word out on projects we are working on). Like Becky’s last post, I think it would be interesting to show work from U of M students in Syracuse, since Detroit and Syracuse are in a similar situation in many ways. From project 2 that I worked on with Secil, I am really interested in how Architecture for Humanity is held responsible for what they do. It was very hard to find critical information about AFH besides smiley, color saturated photos. They are responsible to the local government, which could be opposite of the needs of the clients. Also they are responsible to their funding from businesses like Google. The evidence I found that AFH uses to show their funding support is images with smiley kids suggesting AFH has solved everything and there are no problems now. So the responsibility that they are held to is very narrow with limited visibility. I think communication could raise accountability. I am interested in how the communication gap could be closed between client/NGO/funding, something similar to the bridging that the Center for Urban Pedagogy project, that Carla and Peter worked on, is about. A project that could cross language boundaries and leverage the ability of architects (and artists) to distill complex information into legible graphics. This idea it still very general and I would like other people’s input. I would also like to hear about what other people are interested in working on even if they don’t want to work in collaboration of some degree.



Project 3 Ideas

Hey team,

Some of us were discussing the possibility of using the storefront space in downtown Syracuse to curate an exhibition, forum or another method of doing something outside of Slocum to materialize what we’ve been discussing in class. Just a rough idea, other suggestions? Perhaps this is a way we can show what U of M has been doing in Syracuse as well,