by Tara Hildreth
Two days prior to Thanksgiving, pro bowlers, sports celebrities and the community gathered together at Serra Bowl in Daly City to volunteer their time and skills as they bowled strikes for turkeys at the eleventh annual Turkey Bowl. This event raises money to buy turkeys to benefit the St. Anthony Dining Room as well as the North Peninsula Food Pantry & Dining Center of Daly City. Rex Golobic and his family – the owners of Serra Bowl – created this event to help feed the hungry over the holidays. It has been successful since its very beginning and over 1,000 turkeys are contributed every year to help those in need.
Nancy Pelosi visits the Dining Room
On the day before Thanksgiving, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and her grandchildren graciously volunteered in our Dining Room. She has been donating her time to St. Anthony’s for many years and we are very thankful for her support. After serving, Pelosi reflected that “On Thanksgiving, we come together with family and friends to honor a spirit of gratitude: offering thanks for the blessings in our lives; giving back to the less fortunate in our communities.” Congresswoman Pelosi and her family captured the spirit of giving that we at St. Anthony’s cherish so much.
Later that day, recently re-elected Mayor Edwin Lee, Police Chief Greg Suhr, and Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White joined St. Anthony Chefs to put the final touches on our 61st Thanksgiving Day meal. The Mayor, Chiefs, and uniformed members of the San Francisco Police and Fire Departments carved the last of 4,800 pounds of turkey and added the final garnish of whipped cream to our 4,000 pumpkin pies.
On Thanksgiving Day and all other days, St. Anthony’s opens its doors to any and all San Franciscans. Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, joined over a hundred volunteers and thousands of guests to serve and enjoy a delicious meal prepared for 4,000. As St. Anthony’s prepares to serve a growing number of needy residents, Executive Director Shari Roeseler commented, “These are difficult times. At St. Anthony’s we see increasing numbers of people seeking services from all of our programs. The dining room alone saw a 15% jump in the number of guests in October. Despite the challenges people of San Francisco are facing, I also see hope on a daily basis as donors, volunteers, and guests come together to celebrate the holiday season.” The Dining Room was full of hope and holiday cheer on Thanksgiving Day, as guests ate all the food off their plates, had second helpings of pumpkin pie, took more food home for leftovers, and walked out of St. Anthony’s with full stomachs and smiling faces.
With 4,800 pounds of turkey, 1,250 pounds of mashed potatoes, 1,250 pounds of yams, 1,000 pounds of stuffing, 4,000 individual pumpkin pies and more, this may have been one of the biggest thanksgiving meals you’ve ever seen!