Chaplain Chronicles: What is “Soul Coffee”?July 13th, 2012
by Sr. Irene McDonnell
Every Wednesday four volunteers and I have the privilege of wheeling a cart of coffee and donuts down Golden Gate Avenue in the Tenderloin District. The purpose is to engage residents at the Cadillac, Dalt and Marlton Manor Hotels in sitting, sipping coffee and chatting with each other and us.
An important “angel” in this endeavor is a Safeway store on King Street in the City. They provide what New Yorkers call a “two-fer,” i.e., St. Anthony’s gets two dozen donuts for the price of one, since Safeway knows these donuts are for our guests in the Tenderloin.
The stories we have shared with our guests are very moving. One gentleman told me that when he first came to San Francisco several years ago, he had no money. He lived on the street and there learned about St. Anthony’s Dining Room. He said for four months, until he could get back on his feet, he had a place to go where he felt at home and was generously fed. With tears in his eyes, he said, “I will never forget St. Anthony’s…they saved my life.”
This is one of many stories shared on Wednesdays; we view these encounters as “soul coffee” times.
Picture Identification (Left to right, numbers in parentheses refer to number of years served as a volunteer): Evelyn Melanson (16), Gordon Graham (19), Sister Lucia Lodolo P.B.V.M. (6), Sister Kathleen Healey P.B.V.M. (6), Sister Irene, OP Chaplain at St. Anthony’s