Broadway Utica STOMPs Out Hunger

August 25, 2021

T.K.Millo & Co

It’s been nearly a week since STOMP stormed the stage at the Stanley Theatre, and the impact is still reverberating from the generous donors who filled the symbolic metal trash cans with enough food to restock the pantry shelves at the Rome Rescue Mission.

The theater world took one of the hardest, and earliest, hits from the novel coronavirus. As Broadway went dark, the hearts and souls of actors, musicians, performers, and stagehands,  hung heavy out of fear for their careers and livelihoods. They found themselves lost, without a sense of purpose, passing the eerily quiet days and nights with no easy answer to the heavy question in their minds – when will they work again?

Much like hundreds of individuals across the area, Broadway Utica clung to the support it received from the community. They relished donations, were encouraged by uplifting words and promised they’d bring Broadway back better and stronger than ever. When that day finally arrived, Broadway Utica reengaged that same support with their STOMP Out Hunger campaign and brought attention to the Rome Rescue Mission and their need for food.

On opening night, theatergoers could be seen walking up and down Genesee Street holding tickets in one hand and food donations in the other. Strategically placed metal garbage cans clanged and overflowed with everything from soup to rice, and with each donation, a faint thank you echoed from inside the receptacles.

“The STOMP Out Hunger campaign that Broadway Utica ran was flawless,” Matt Miller, Executive Director of the Rome Rescue Mission, stated. “While we’ve had the opportunity to provide thousands of healthy meals to individuals in need, before and during COVID, it’s the spirit behind what we offer — behind what the community creates for them–that helps feed their soul. The question isn’t how we can work to keep hunger at bay, but how we can work to educate our community so we can work to stop the cycle of hunger altogether.”

Among the many worthy organizations still in need, the Rome Rescue Mission is responsible for serving around 200 meals a day and creating fresh food baskets filled with an assortment of fruits and vegetables and recipes and instructions for how to prepare meals based on its contents. But the food is just the stepping stone for the vocational, educational, school-age STEAM programs, and the shelter that they provide.

“Enlightening the community about who we are and what we need through a visual platform like STOMP created an awareness that we wouldn’t have been able to achieve. To see the community come together, while they’re all struggling as well, paid homage to the fact that everyone deserves an opportunity. Without these building blocks in place, organizations like ours would not be able to provide that for our people,” Miller stated.

Just like those sitting in the audience or working behind the scenes for the first time in over a year, every person who comes to the Rome Rescue Mission has a story to tell. They’ve faced adversity, challenges, and endured difficult lifestyles, but with each donation came a sense of hope and comfort that they can rely on the Utica-Rome communities to help them write a happy ending.

It’s been said that the scope of a crisis can feel overwhelming, but with the rousing success of Broadway Utica’s STOMP Out Hunger campaign, the community has once again demonstrated that each of us can make a tiny difference and when we all do a little, we do a lot.

**For opportunities to donate goods to the Rome Rescue Mission or volunteer your time, visit their website at or reach out to them via phone@ (315) 337-2516.

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