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 thirty-one 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, Syracuse New Times & Family Times.  

Much of Karen's "spare" time is devoted to building business and community relationships to complete fundraising programs in support of area organizations.  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.

Marianne Bazydlo

Kitchen Assistant

315-472-0650 ext. 206


Marianne has lived in the Syracuse area her whole life. In recent years she volunteered at the Samaritan Center.  She loved her volunteer experience so much and always thought how great it would be to work at the center one day. Marianne has a B.A. in English/Writing Arts and Communication Studies from SUNY Oswego. She has worked in development at nonprofit agencies most of her life. Marianne served two terms as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America), at the Salvation Army of the Syracuse Area and at Syracuse Habitat for Humanity. She is married and has two daughters.

Brenda Mims

Operations Manager

315-472-8156 ext. 206

Brenda is the gentle giant of the Samaritan Center and is the reason for our smooth meal operation.  Brenda has been an anchor of the Samaritan Center famil since December 1999. She assists with the food preparation, cooking, and distribution of volunteer jobs during meal service. She helps out with whatever is needed from tedious paperwork to managing volunteer groups.

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 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, preparing 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.

Chango Osborne

Community Relations Specialist


Chango Osborn was born in Bronx, NY.  He moved to the Syracuse area when he finished school.  He has been in Syracuse for over 20 years.  During his time here he has been through some ups and downs and has learned a lot about life through these struggles.   Four years ago he had an opportunity to start a new position at the Samaritan Center and has become part of their family.  Chango greets our guest before each meal making sure each feels valued and seen.  



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.

Michael Martini

Kitchen Assistant



Michael Martini joined the Samaritan Center team in October of 2018, making him the newest staff member on board.  His culinary background includes over 25 years of fast and fine dining experience.   Michael's past work history includes experience as a bilingual translator instructor, club deejay, muralist, and freelance computer technician.   In Michael's spare time he loves to perform card and coin magic for spectators in downtown Syracuse.

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.   


Alison Baker

Guest Services Coordinator



Alison Baker joins the Samaritan Center family as ths guest services coordinator this year.  Alison is from Washington State where she attended Gonzaga University and studied Business Administration and Psychology. Alison is part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Program which is an organization of individuals who volunteer for one year or more in communities throughout the country.  During her time at college she was active in residence life as a Resident Assistant, a volleyball coach and as an ambassador for campus tours.  Alison  is "so grateful to be a part of such an incredible community and ecstatic to be in a space that challenges her to intentionally think about injustices that exist while giving her the opportunity to continuously learn."