Twenty-plus programs serve underrepresented folks in Syracuse

By Eileen M. Clinton | Contributing writer

The Brady Faith Center, Market and Farm have had to deal with COVID-19 issues like everyone else in the last year, but one year later all of these three service entities are doing well! This article provides an update on their amazing progress in the last year and plans for the future. Spring is truly the time of growth and reflection.

In memory of Father Charles Brady who 75 years ago carried out his wonderful ministry of serving the underrepresented folks in the South Side of Syracuse, Father John Schopfer and Kevin Frank and their team, along with the whole Brady Community, continue this work. Today this ministry is more important than ever; data shows childhood poverty rates in the South Side of Syracuse are among the highest in the country. Brady’s work, centered on kinship and social justice, is more important now than ever. 

Brady Market opened one year ago in the old Nojaim Bros. Supermarket building at 307 Gifford St. The mission of the market is to serve the people in the community and to provide much needed employment. In this food desert on the Near Westside, families can now purchase healthy food at a lower cost. After just one year, the market is keeping pace with its sustainability plan.

However, the market was never intended to be just a market. Brady hires people from the neighborhood and supports them with a comprehensive job-training program while providing other wrap-around services (care management, counseling, classes and learning circles). They are happy to report that five of these folks successfully graduated from their job-training program and have moved on to higher paying, better jobs. “People first” is their mission statement. 

Also, Brady Market has established a partnership with St. Joseph’s Health Hospital to support peoples’ access to healthy food. You as an individual/family can also order their amazing food at Bradymarket.org. Go to “catering” and hit “individual orders,” and you can pick from their online menu that is updated on a regular basis.  

 The Brady Faith Center, at 404 South Ave., continued most of its 20-plus programs throughout the pandemic last year. However some programs met online and numbers were limited due to COVID. Their mission to the adults and children in that neighborhood and elsewhere continued amidst significant challenges. This work changes lives! 

Growth has continued every year at the Brady Farm. Since last year, a new senior farm assistant and a crew leader were hired. With a grant they received, another 12 farm apprentices have also been hired. They are busy! They are continuing with their farm stands in various locations within the city as well as supplying fresh produce to the market. Boxes of produce can be purchased by anyone (go to bradymarket.org; boxes are delivered within a 5-mile radius or to convenient locations in the suburbs.) Their employment model also provides more than just a job. In line with the Hope, Health and Healing model of the market, this program supports the whole person, provides meaningful training and helps them navigate life’s hurdles so they can find their strengths and passions. People first! 

What a difference a year makes! I am proud to be a part of this mission. It has changed my life. If you are interested in getting involved as a volunteer or donor, visit www.bradyfaithcenter.org or contact Director Kevin Frank at kfrank@bradyfaith.org.

Eileen M. Clinton is a member of the Brady Faith Center Board and a volunteer.


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