The clanging of pots and pans echoed throughout the kitchen as volunteers began to prepare for the big meal of the day. Colorful aprons of every hue decorated the wall leading down the hallway, along with a sign that reads, “Serving love in every bowl since 1984.” As you walk past the kitchen, you’re lead to the offices where the behind the scenes action takes place.
“If I could write my dream job, this is it,” said Jeffrey Smith, executive director at St. Susan Center in Jamestown.
Smith, a Jamestown native, discovered the position for executive director at St. Susan Center last year, and relocated from his home in Florida in October 2014.
“I had wanted to move back to the area. Then I read about the job description and thought, this is right up my alley.”
Smith attended Southwestern Central School and graduated from Mercyhurst College in 1988 with a degree in Hotel Restaurant Management. He moved to New York City upon graduation, and years later migrated south to Florida.
“Jamestown has always been home. The people are always so friendly. Here, you walk into the grocery store and you’re bound to see someone you know. It’s nice.”
Smith is passionate about helping those less fortunate and addressing the hunger crisis in the area.
“I can see that there’s a need in the community and I am grateful to use my God given skills to give back. “You hear about the drug problem in the area almost every day. You don’t hear much about the hunger problem. Hunger is not only a Jamestown problem, it’s a worldwide problem. I’m just happy to do my part, and I couldn’t do it without my staff and our board. They have the mission of St. Susan in their heart. “
When Smith is not at St. Susan’s he attends weekly meetings for the Rotary Club, where he recently became a member. He enjoys the camaraderie that is brought to their Monday lunches.
Smith also enjoys time with his girlfriend, Linda DeJoseph. The two attended homecoming together at Southwestern 31 years ago. DeJoseph is a counselor and Student Development teacher at Jamestown Community College.
Smith’s son, Jacob, 11, resides in Florida. Smith said Jacob is a frequent visitor to Jamestown. Jeff is looking forward to taking him to his favorite sites this summer including Chautauqua Lake, Midway Park and Jamestown Jammers games.
“I’m excited to do all the things this year that I’ve missed in the last 14 years.”
Smith enjoys music, movies, sports and is an avid Bills fan. He loves to travel, frequently to Toronto. He is also passionate about cooking and using his skills to create new dishes.
“I can’t sing or dance, so I do this. I’m happy to be doing what I’m doing,” explains Smith in reference to his career. His passion rings true as you hear him boast about the volunteers he greets with a smile as they walk through the door.
“I think it’s important that people give back to their community whether it is their time, finances or service. These folks come in here rain or shine and don’t expect anything in return. We have a generous community. That’s why I’m here,” Smith said.