Our Staff

Mary Beth Frey

Executive Director

315-472-0650 ext. 205


Mary Beth grew up in the foothills of the Adirondacks; her career in human services brought her east along the thruway from Buffalo to finally settle in the Syracuse area in 1993. She graduated from Oswego State University with a BS in psychology and returned there to receive her MBA in 2000. Mary Beth brings twenty-eight years of experience in the non-profit sector, positions ranging from direct service in the mental health field to management at the United Way of Central New York.

Mary Beth describes what brought her to the Samaritan Center, and what brings so many of the Center's volunteers, as a "pull of the heart"; a desire to make a direct difference in the community, one meal at a time.

Karen Belgrader

Development Director

315-472-0650 ext. 204


Karen joined the Samaritan Center in 2013.  A longtime resident of Liverpool, Karen has a long and successful career in advertising, sales, marketing, and management, including work at the Utica Observer Dispatch and Syracuse New Times.  Karen was also responsible for developing and launching the popular monthly magazine Family Times.

Much of Karen's "spare" time is devoted to building business and community relationships to complete fundraising programs in support of area organization's and the Marine Corps.  Karen organized the first Syracuse Go Red for Women event, is a Board member of the Syracuse Figure Skating Club, a US Marine Corps Key Volunteer, and a Liverpool School PTO President.

Karen chose to pursue a full-time fundraising career in order to make an even greater impact on the lives of others.  After volunteering in the kitchen, Karen knew the Samaritan Center would be a perfect fit for her enthusiastic and caring approach to helping others.  Karen graduated from St. John Fisher College.  When she isn't working or volunteering, her time is spent enjoying her family and friends- especially her son, daughter and husband who keep her busy with soccer and baseball games, dance and skating recitals.

Maryanne Grady

Office Manager

315-472-0650 ext. 202


Maryanne Grady joined the Samaritan Center staff in 2004. She is the part time Office Manager.  A native "Valley Girl:", she attended the University of Delaware and majored in Chemistry. Her experiences include teaching entry level lab classes for DuPont, working with graduate and post doctoral candidates in research with solar energy and auditing petroleum pollution for a major refining company. Her love of cooking (and eating) inspired her to start a catering business in Syracuse and to work for several other catering companies as well. She brings energy, enthusiasm and considerable expertise to both of her jobs.

Brenda Mims

Assistant Operations Manager

315-472-8156 ext. 206

Brenda is the gentle giant of the Samaritan Center and is the reason for a smooth meal operation. She assists with the food preparation, cooking, and distribution of volunteer jobs during meal service. She is helps out with whatever is needed from tedious paperwork, to managing volunteer groups.

Brenda has been an anchor of the Samaritan family since December 1999.

Brenda is a Syracuse native. She has held numerous jobs in the city such as Machine Setup Operator at Bristol Meyers Pharmaceutical Company, Machine Operator at Higbee Gasket Corporation, and Lunch/Support Aide in the Bellevue Elementary School District. She was also winner of the 2002 Syracuse Women of Courage Award. Brenda has five children (Alisha, Shawna, Billy, Cherelle, and Cherese) and is a very proud grandma!

Marc Bianchi

Kitchen Assistant/Weekend Supervisor



Marc joined the Samaritan Center in October 2015. Originally from Seminole Florida, but his family has had roots in the Syracuse area since the 1920's.  He has extensive experience in Banquet style cooking from hotels, restaurants, country clubs, and cruise ships. Marc assists in planning, preparingm and cooking the meals at the center.  He enjoys preparing home cooked meals that he knows our guests love and enoy to eat too.  Marc likes working with our special needs volunteers and their coaches and our "souper" servers, but most of all... the challenge of organizing and creating an awesome dinner or breakfast from the food items that were donated from the dozens of wonderful churches, organizations, companies and volunteers throughout the Syracuse and the CNY community.

Emily Prill

Support Services Coordinator



Emily joins the Samaritan Center family as the new  2016/2017 Jesuit Volunteer!  Emily will work with our guests as the Guest Services Coordinator. Emily graduated from the University of Dayton with a degree in psychology and a minor in social work.  Emily loves cats, tie dye, walking barefoot, and spending time outside in nature (especially in her hammock.  Emily is inspired by the Samaritan Center’s beautiful ability to meet and embrace people where they are and as they are.



Julie Gilbert

Resource and Referral Specialist

315-472-0650 ext. 201


Julie was adopted into the Samaritan Center family in 2008 as the Guest Services and Volunteer Coordinator, placed through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.  After quickly falling in love with the mission of the Center, she transitioned into the role of Resource and Referral Specialist in 2010.

A Philadelphia native, Julie graduated from St. Joseph's University, where she studied English, with a concentration in writing.  Julie's position at the Samaritan Center directly addresses its mission to "promote the dignity, welfare and self-sufficiency" of our guests.  By building relationships, providing direct case management and networking throughout the community, Julie is able to provide our guests with the information, linkages and support they need to create positive change.

The sense of organic community has always been an important part of what makes Samaritan Center so special, providing a familial, caring atmosphere for those we serve.  This position helps further empower our guests as they journey through the challenges life has presented.

Cil Sindoni

Events Assistant



Cil Sindoni joined the Samaritan Center last year on assignment from the Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC), a Jesuit-based organization that pairs retirement-aged adults with volunteer positions in agencies that directly serve the poor. She comes to us after spending four years with Refugee Resettlement.

A lifetime resident of Central New York, Cil graduated from LeMoyne College with an honors degree in English/Communications and spent her career years as a full-time homemaker and mother of six. She spent countless hours involved at her children’s schools, chairing fund-raising events and volunteering service to area nonprofit agencies, including Board positions at CONTACT Community Services, On Point for College, and Christ the King Retreat House.

During her first year at Samaritan Center, she worked with Support Services and helped research and develop the guidelines for our fledgling “Employment Lab” including one-on-one appointments with our guests needing help creating a resume or applying for a job online. This year her main focus will be with Development, assisting Karen with our fundraising events and helping to “spread the word” about our tasty meals, terrific programs, and tremendous volunteers.

Cil and her husband, John, reside in Cicero and enjoy traveling and spending time with their seven grandchildren.

Amy Rossi

Volunteer Coordinator

315-472-0650 ext. 203


Amy Rossi joined our family in 2017 and serves as Volunteer Coordinator.   

Amy began her professional career with The Ketchum Agency – a Syracuse based insurance company.  In 2005, Amy, along with her husband and some friends, created what is now known as the Syracuse for St. Jude Gala.  Since 2005, this event has helped raise over $350,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the world’s leading pediatric cancer research and treatment center.  The dinner was formed as a memorial to Amy’s in-laws, and it has evolved into an annual fundraiser. 

Now that her children are older, Amy wants to dedicate herself to something that adds to her purpose of giving back.  Amy’s faith matched our mission of taking care of the hungry in our community.

For leisure, Amy enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends.  She is a proud mother of a daughter and two sons.