BPU Kicks Off 20th Annual “Cents For St. Susan’s” Campaign

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Major sponsors of the fund drive.

Article Contributed by
Jamestown Board of Public Utilities

The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities (BPU) announced its 20th annual “Cents for St. Susan’s” campaign to benefit the 35-year-old soup kitchen in the City.

Major sponsors of the fund drive gathered at the BPU for a picture to kick-start the event which is known for placing colorful coin canisters around the community to collect “cents” for St. Susan Center. Canisters are distributed to nearly 60 locations in the area.

The fund drive focuses on raising money now, when more people can walk to the soup kitchen without wading through snow and when schools are closed in summer, leaving area children without their usual school breakfasts and lunches.

St. Susan can convert each dollar spent at the Food Bank of Western New York, to $6 worth of food.

In the last 19 years, the BPU drive has raised $215,490 for St. Susan Center, thanks to community support, including local major sponsors who contribute $500 or more to the drive.

Donors of $500 this year are: Alfie’s Restaurant; Boyles Motor Sales; Century 21/Turner Brokers; Chautauqua Chemicals, Inc.; Falconer Printing & Design, Inc.; FreedMaxick, Accountants; The Heritage Group; The Legend Group with Lou Deppas; National Fuel; Northwest Bank; Shults Auto Group; Slone-Melhuish Insurance; Weinberg Financial Group; and Wright, Wright and Hampton Attorneys. KeyBank donated $2,000 this year, while Kwik Fill contributed $1,000.

Another 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 their utility bill payments.

Redeemable cans and bottles also may be contributed at BPU Customer Service, 92 Steele Street. The office is open from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays and 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays. Such redeemable bottles and cans may be left at Don’s Car Wash and at the Southside Redemption Center through July 5 as well if donors tell recyclers that the containers are donations to “Cents for St. Susan’s.”

A delicious way to help the campaign is to stop outside BPU Customer Service between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Monday, June 3, for our hot dog and soda sale. BPU employees will volunteer their lunch hour times to cook and sell hot dogs to benefit the soup kitchen drive. They also will accept redeemable cans and bottles for the fund drive.

Tag days for Cents for St. Susan’s will be scheduled during the spring and summer.

BPU General Manager David L. Leathers noted that the BPU is happy to hold its annual fund drive to assist St. Susan Center and its guests.

“The BPU started ‘Cents for St. Susan’s’ in 2000 as a way to help people in our community,” stated Leathers. “Since then, we continue to assist the soup kitchen as we recognize the outstanding work undertaken by the St. Susan Center in feeding people who need it.”

“Poverty in our community is higher than many residents realize,” said BPU Communications Coordinator Becky Robbins who organizes the campaign. “Many people struggle and need the meals provided to them by St. Susan Center. We hope that local people will step forward to assist us again this year through one of the several ways we have developed in this fund drive.”

St. Susan Center in 2018 served 111,851 meals to people based on one meal per person per day. From January to March of 2019, 26,142 meals were served. These numbers remain steady each year, indicating the need persists.

St. Susan Executive Director Bonny Scott-Sleight thanked the BPU for setting up “Cents for St. Susan’s.”

“The mission of St. Susan Center has remained the same for 35 years, freely serving a meal, fellowship, dignity and respect to anyone who enters our doors,” said Ms. Scott-Sleight. “It is through the tremendous generosity of those who contribute throughout the year that allows us to serve approximately 300 meals per day.”

“One such event for the center is the BPU Cents for St. Susan Campaign, which has been in place, thanks to a supportive team, for 19 years,” continued the St. Susan executive director. “By giving a meal to those in need, we seize the opportunity to provide this offering with the kindness and love in our hearts. Donations we receive from the surrounding community allow us to feel the joy that comes from making someone else’s life a bit better.”

Questions about the campaign may be directed to Mrs. Robbins at 661-1680 or at brobbins@jamestownbpu.com.