Getting adjusted to the cold weather isn't easy for anyone, especially the homeless.
But the Syracuse Rescue Mission opened a new building Thursday: the Clarence L. Jordan Food Service and Culinary Education Center, named after the longtime Rescue Mission director and board member who passed away last year.
The building has a state-of-the art kitchen that will have cooking classes, so adults looking for jobs in the food service industry can get the training they need. The center also has an electric fireplace and a family dining room.
"This is a very warm setting," said Catherine, a woman who came to the Rescue Mission just a few days ago. "I can't wait for the tree to go up. It's awesome."
She said she couldn't believe how accommodating the space has been.
"What's really odd is that within a week I have a bed, you know, so it's good," she said. "It's a blessing. In disguise."
Kristin Moore has been able to go to an AA meeting. She's gone to church — all inside the center.
"I've done a lot more here since I've been homeless than sitting at home in my living room," said Moore.
After four years of construction, the center has tripled in size.
"I like to cook, I like to eat," said Brian Hardy, who lives at the Rescue Mission.
He takes full advantage of the kitchen training.
"It goes to show how they care about the homeless, and it's a big difference," said Hardy. "It's like a restaurant atmosphere, you know. It's just beautiful. It's beautiful."
Rescue Mission CEO Dan Sieburg says the original space was designed to feed 100 people each meal. Now, volunteers serve more than 700 meals each day.
"I don't think it was at our level of dignity, in the way that we want to do this, the way we want to serve," said Sieburg.
And no man, woman, nor child in need is turned away.
"People come here and they're spending their birthday here," said Sieburg. "Some people are coming here having a meal and they just found out a loved one just passed away. They just lost their mom, they lost their dad. Some have come here, they're fleeing a domestic violence situation. People are coming at some of their worst moments. And so if we can wrap them around with some support and a good meal, that's how we put love into action at the rescue mission."