CARE, affiliated with Le Moyne College, will offer services to seniors at grocery store
By Tom Maguire | Associate editor
The clean market is tour-worthy and partner-worthy too.
New this year on the Near Westside of Syracuse, Brady Market attracted religious, college and senior-services leaders Sept. 15 to a luncheon and presentations about caring for the mind, body and soul. The day’s sponsor was the Le Moyne College–affiliated Center for Aging Resources and Enrichment (CARE).
Bishop Douglas J. Lucia, among the attendees, thought James 2:14-18 was fitting because it says that faith without works is dead.
Brady Market diligently works and it gets livelier all the time. “I don’t think there’s another grocery store in our universe that has healing and exercise classes and work-training programs all under one roof,” said Kevin Frank, executive director of the nearby Brady Faith Center. “So this is a very special vision, it’s a special mission.”
Over the decades, said speaker Mary Sinnott, of St. Lucy Church in Syracuse, “Brady has just continued to grow and grow and grow.” That effort includes Brady Farm in Syracuse.
Mentoring and more
Brady Market, which sells some of Brady Farm’s produce, had its grand opening in June. It employs community residents who need a first, second or third chance in life, and every dollar spent there increases programming in the community. Offered are paying jobs, access to healthy and affordable food, and social supports and services under one roof: case management, mentoring, therapy, learning circles, tai chi, yoga, meditation and Zumba.
“Lovely, lovely grocery store,” said one of the day’s speakers, the Rev. Dr. Robert J. Norrix of Brown Memorial United Methodist Church in Syracuse.
“The organization and cleanliness and the friendliness of the staff, I haven’t seen anything better and frankly haven’t seen its equal,” said Michael D. Madden, a 1971 Le Moyne College alumnus and the co-founder of CARE, which one month ago started a formal partnership with Brady Market. CARE, which started about three years ago, strives to “inspire seniors to live their best lives,” and Madden noted that living in low-income housing right across from Brady Market are about 300 seniors who might want to partake of CARE’s services.
In the same space where it holds workshops for employees now—an area behind the food aisles—Brady Market will be offering programs for underserved seniors: instruction about topics including falls prevention, medicine interactions and the Spirituality of Aging, along with simple wellness checks (cholesterol, blood pressure) and vaccinations.
“We want to do our best to energize them and to mitigate … loneliness and isolation and make sure they’re as healthy as we can possibly help them become,” said Madden, whom Le Moyne’s School of Business is named after.
The Brady Faith Center had formed Brady Social Enterprises as an umbrella organization for its first entrepreneurship, Brady Market. About four months ago, Father Clifford H. Auth, who is a member of the BFC board, suggested that CARE co-founders Madden and Lynn McMartin, the retired associate vice president for human resources at Le Moyne, meet Executive Director Frank and see what goes on at the faith center.
‘Pretty cool stuff’
After touring Brady Market, Madden said, “we said, Hey, this is pretty cool stuff, and maybe it has some applicability to CARE. That’s when we thought of the vaccination program, for example. … Hopefully as we go forward for the next year, we’ll have a lot of specific programs and services offered” at Brady Market. … It’s a nice space for up to 100 people and you can do a lot with it. And it’s right in the heart of an underserved community.”
A Spirituality of Aging seminar, for example, would focus on how seniors can get rid of “regrets, anger, revenge—all of the things that people carry around with them like a lot of baggage for most of their life,” Madden said. “And then as they get older, me included, you start to look back and reflect upon, Gee, I wish I could get rid of that baggage, and I wish I had a key to unlock what’s held in there so that I could live my life a little freer and a little bit more confident of what comes beyond.”
“This is part of the Le Moyne fabric of who we are, of being in partnership with others,” Le Moyne College President Dr. Linda M. LeMura told the luncheon audience about the new CARE-Brady link.
In an interview beforehand, she said: “I think that CARE and Le Moyne are integrally linked. The mission and the purposes of the CARE initiative dovetail beautifully with our mission for service and care for others who are in need of assistance, and this program speaks to not only the life of the mind as we age, but also the life of the spirit and the physical aspects of aging, and we’re just graced by Mike and Lynn’s commitment to this particular program and we’re proud to be affiliated with it.”
“We’re in the natal stage of this process,” Madden said, “but we think that what we have can be very complementary to what Kevin Frank has done in developing the Brady Faith Center and now the market. … It’s a nice synergistic approach where we get to the population that Brady Faith serves, and they become more interested and familiar with the Brady Faith and the Brady Market scenario, and so it’s a win-win for everybody. One of the missions of the college, being a Jesuit Catholic institution, is to serve the underserved.”
The spirituality side
Msgr. J. Robert Yeazel has led the spirituality part of CARE and is now assisted in that effort by Father Auth.
“This is an occasion for us to celebrate all those things that are important,” Le Moyne alumnus Father Auth told the gathering. “But as people of faith regardless of our denomination, the one thing that we find so important is that we believe in the other person’s dignity. And that’s what today is—it’s about acknowledging and celebrating the dignity.”
What is wonderful about the Brady effort, said another speaker, the Rev. Frankie Jackson of Syracuse Salt of the Earth Ministries in Syracuse, “is that it did not neglect to give the people soul.” He cited 3 John 1:2: “Beloved, I hope you are prospering in every respect and are in good health, just as your soul is prospering.”
“God bless all of you for your dedication and sacrifice,” Rev. Jackson told the gathering.
Noting Brady Market’s themes of Hope, Health and Healing, Deacon Joseph R. Casper gave the closing prayer. It says in part:
“God of all, your gifts are ripe and plentiful, thank you for your garden. The nourishment of your food that feeds us—it gives us health of body, spirit and mind. The awesomeness of the Brady Market is overwhelming, so many gifts of hope, health and healing all in one place, not only offered to our local community, but weary travelers alike.”
Asked to assess the day’s ceremony, Brady Market employee Zakeem Rutledge, whose duties include peer leader and closing manager, said: “It was beautiful—the blessings and the encouragement that we need in our communities, different organizations coming together and recognizing the strengths that we have.”
(In the Sun’s next issue: Zakeem Rutledge’s story)