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New outreach van for In My Father’s Kitchen will serve as mobile clinic for Upstate's HouseCalls for the Homeless

In My Father’s Kitchen (IMFK), a Syracuse-based homeless outreach program, has unveiled its new outreach van that will be used to navigate city streets providing aid and comfort to the homeless.

The new outreach van, a 2022 Mercedes Benz Sprinter Cargo Van, provides food, clothing, emergency supplies to people who live in abandoned buildings, hidden encampments and under bridges and overpasses.  Since In My Father’s Kitchen began in 2011, it has served 735 unduplicated people and has been able to assist 301 of those individuals with housing. 

Funding for the van was secured by the City of Syracuse, which has been a supporter of IMFK since its inception in 2011. In addition to the city, the majority of support for IMFK comes from private donors, local churches, as well as corporate donations.

“The partnership with the City of Syracuse has been instrumental not just on a financial front, but also as a bridge to other NGOs as well as other government agencies,” said John Tumino, executive director of In My Father’s Kitchen. “The city's heart for this community we serve is immeasurable.”

The new van will host Upstate's HouseCalls for the Homeless.

Unlike the previous outreach van, the new vehicle is specially equipped with a medical exam table, lighting, medical supply storage and other amenities to aid in the collaborative partnership they have with Upstate’s HouseCalls for the Homeless program, a street medicine initiative that provides medical, psychiatric and addiction care services for men and women experiencing homelessness.

The program, pioneered by Upstate Medical University Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine David Lehmann, MD, PharmD, and Mia Ruiz Salvador, provides basic medical and preventive care to those living on the streets, as well as direct and consultative services to those sheltering at the Rescue Mission, Catholic Charities Men's Shelter, Salvation Army Women's Shelter, and Chadwick Residence.

Medical care is provided by Lehmann, who is assisted by others, including medical students from Upstate Medical University.

“This new van will provide us with the tools to actually have a traveling medical clinic,” said Lehmann. “Patient comfort will be much improved, and we’ll be able to deliver health care with a greater level of dignity.”

The van will be on the road immediately.

Funding for HouseCalls for the Homeless is supported by two funds established at the Upstate Foundation. One helps meet its day-to-day operations, and the other, an endowed fund, will ensure that there is support in perpetuity for the program. Those interested in contributing to this important community resource, can click on the link below.

For more information on In My Father’s Kitchen go here.

For more information on HouseCalls for the Homeless, visit here.


Caption: Representatives of the city of Syracuse, In My Father's Kitchen and Upstate's HouseCalls for the Homeless, cut the ribbon on a new street outreach van.