St. Bonaventure University’s soup kitchen has served the needy for more than 35 years


College degree seekers who wish to obtain higher education from a Catholic institution that emphasizes public service may benefit from applying to St. Bonaventure University (SBU). The school founded a soup kitchen in 1973, which still operates today.

According to SBU, students and Father Daniel Riley began designing a place where Olean, New York-area elderly without close relatives could gather for warmth, food and companionship. In January 1974, the Warming House opened in a donated storefront in downtown Olean. The outreach was run by university students, who offered coffee and doughnuts in a dignified setting.

It has evolved through the years with various locations, students, directors and visions, but it continues to be a place seeks to provide comfort to Olean-area residents who are in need.

Dinner is served six days a week and emergency food needs of guests are met. In addition, the Warming House works with other local agencies to provide for the emotional and physical needs of its guests including counseling, health screening and related service providers.

St. Bonaventure students continue to offer the primary volunteer support that is necessary to keep the Warming House open. Student leaders commit to regular gatherings during the year to discuss potential improvements.

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