Clares L Jordan Food Service and Culinary Education Center

Over 130 Years of Love in Action

Since 1887, the Rescue Mission has served people in need in Central New York. Beginning as an outreach ministry to Erie Canal workers and the community that formed around them, we have been here to help through war and peace, economic booms and recessions, the Great Depression, and now, the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At the Rescue Mission, our doors are open to all. One of our original meeting invitations urged people to come as they are:

“Everybody’s Meeting
Every Night the Year Round
Don’t Fix Up. Come in Your Working Clothes
Man or Woman, Boy or Girl
Rich or Poor, Black or White
Large or Small, Short or Tall
Come One . . .  Come All.”

In its early years, the Mission spread the Gospel Message and demonstrated it through humanitarian services such as meals and medical care.

In the 1920s, the Rescue Mission opened a Lodging House for transients, introduced children’s activities, began formalizing its social work programs, and served thousands of meals.

In 1959, Clarence Jordan came to work at the Rescue Mission, eventually working his way up to the role of Executive Director. He introduced a number of new programs during his 40 years of leadership, including employment development programs and a network of Thrifty Shopper stores.

Although the locations have changed over the years, and our capacity has expanded, the tradition of sheltering and feeding those in need has continued over the decades. Today, the Rescue Mission Alliance operates programs helping men, women and children in Syracuse, Auburn, and Binghamton, New York.

What’s in a Name?

The name “Rescue” Mission originates from Syracuse’s history with the Underground Railroad.

In 1851, an escaped slave named Jerry, was arrested and imprisoned in Syracuse. Facing a return to his owner, abolitionsts freed Jerry, and helped him to Canada. This famed “Jerry Rescue” inspired the name of our fledgling Mission some 30 years later.

Notably, the Syracuse Rescue Mission was the first to use the name “Rescue Mission” in the United States. Similarly named organizations now exist all over the world, but the Syracuse Rescue Mission remains the original. Unaffiliated with other Rescue Missions, the Syracuse Rescue Mission and the Rescue Mission Alliance operate with complete independence and are 100% local to Upstate and Central New York.


Caring and Responsible Leadership

Leaders putting love into action. Meet the Rescue Mission Senior Leadership Team and Board of Directors; a strong and caring group of leaders committed to creating impactful programs, and ensuring the fiscal and structural health of the organization now and in the years to come.

Meet the Leadership Team and Board of Directors

Fiscal Transparency

Every dollar received by the Rescue Mission is another piece of love put into action toward helping those in need. View our annual report, audited financials, and IRS 990.