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Jamestown Board of Public Utilities
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities (BPU) kicked off its 17th annual “Cents for St. Susan’” campaign on Tuesday, May 3, with major sponsors meeting to distribute coin canisters and to learn about the needs of St. Susan Center. The BPU fund drive has raised $160,190 over the years.
Bright yellow “Cents for St. Susan’s” canisters are located on counters at local stores, banks, offices and restaurants to collect coins to benefit St. Susan Center. Money raised through the BPU campaign helps purchase food for area people who need nutritious meals, especially in spring and summer when children are out of school and when families can more easily access the soup kitchen.
The BPU Customer Service Office, 92 Steele Street, also accepts redeemable soda and water bottles and cans through July 5, as another way to contribute to the campaign.
Local sponsors have donated $500-2000 each to jumpstart the cause. These generous donors include KeyBank at the $2000 level. Sponsors at the $500 mark include: Alfie’s Restaurant, Asplundh, Boyle’s Motor Sales, Century 21/Turner Brokers, DFT Communications, Falconer Printing & Design, Inc., Chautauqua Chemicals Company/Miraclean, Freed Maxick CPAs, The Legend Group with Lou Deppas, National Fuel, Northwest Savings Bank, Shults Auto Group, Slone Melhuish Insurance, TJ’s Plumbing & Heating, Valu Hearing Services, Weinberg Financial Group and Wright, Wright & Hampton Attorneys.
The Media One Group of radio stations and the Jamestown Post-Journal serve as media sponsors, providing space and time on their media outlets to benefit the drive.
According to St. Susan Center Executive Director Jeffrey Smith, the number of meals served in 2015 totaled 119,831 meals, rising from just seven years ago in 2009 when 80,000 meals were served. In the first quarter of 2016, meal service is up 16% from the same time last year. By the end of 2016, it is anticipated that 125,000 meals will have been served this year.
An important segment of the fund drive is the BPU customers themselves who contribute by mail or who bring funds to BPU Customer Service at 92 Steele Street. Checks may be written to St. Susan Center and left at Customer Service or mailed to the BPU, c/o Becky Robbins, Communications Coordinator, P.O. Box 700, Jamestown, NY 14702-0700. Customers may add an extra gift amount to their bill payments and note it on the pay stub when mailing in the gift.
“The BPU takes pride and pleasure in organizing a campaign that helps people in our Greater Jamestown community,” says BPU Communications Coordinator Becky Robbins. “We are not permitted to give away money or utility services to people or non-profit organizations, but we can give our time to assist hungry, needy people.”
St. Susan Center Executive Director Jeffrey Smith thanked the BPU for raising donations for the soup kitchen.
“We appreciate so much that, for 17 years, the BPU has brought light to the hunger problem that plagues too many people in our community,” Smith said. “I’d love to tell you the need in our community is going down, but the number of meals served at 31 Water Street continues to rise.”
“In addition to the BPU’s efforts,” continued Smith, “We thank the many businesses who are gracious enough to provide space for a coin canister where people may drop their dollars, checks and coins.”
“It’s our understanding that every dollar raised for the soup kitchen allows St. Susan Center to purchase $7 worth of food from the Food Bank of WNY,” added BPU General Manager David L. Leathers. “We encourage local residents to contribute to the Cents for St. Susan’s Campaign in order to help meet the tremendous need in our community.”
Businesses that would agree to host a canister may contact Mrs. Robbins at 661-1680.
People who have questions or who have ideas of other ways to help the BPU “Cents for St. Susan’s” campaign may contact Mrs. Robbins at 661-1680 or by e-mail: email@example.com. Smith may be reached at St. Susan Center at 664-2253.