Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

A Father Alfred Thanksgiving

Monday, December 3rd, 2012
by Emily

Each month we gather in the dining room at Fr. Alfred Center to celebrate and honor the latest graduates of our 12 month, residential drug and alcohol recovery program.  At our November graduation Al, who will soon be graduating himself, stood up and addressed Joe, one of the graduates, saying: “When I came into this program, I was broke. My pockets were empty. I had lost everything. I didn’t even have a decent pair of shoes. But when you saw me, you took off the shoes you were wearing and gave them to me. Man, I will never forget that. I love you.”  Joe’s gift inspired deep gratitude. Love was born out of his compassionate and generous gesture and, through this, fellowship, such a powerful force in our recovery program, was strengthened.

The first Thanksgiving was not only a celebration of an abundant harvest, but also of fellowship between the English settlers and the local Native Americans, who, when they first heard shots fired, thought that perhaps a war had started. Concerned, their leader, Massasoit, visited the English settlement and learned that the settlers were preparing for a harvest feast. Massasoit then sent some of his own men to hunt deer for the celebration.  For three days the English settlers and Native men, women and children shared roasted deer and other meats, shellfish and corn together. They sang and danced and feasted!

We live in a culture that often seems to promote the idea that what we receive enriches us, but the true gifts are gratitude and fellowship.  These gifts deepen our faith and trust that there is enough for all if we share, and that an enduring fellowship is born of this sacred exchange. Both giver and receiver are enriched as they become gifts for one another.

Thanksgiving Day, the men of Fr. Alfred Center  helped to serve thousands of meals to our guests. A year ago some of them were in the Dining Room as guests themselves. The food was wonderful, the atmosphere festive  and  once again we  affirmed  that together we create a fellowship of care, concern and love for one another.

Written by Gail Priestley, the Director of Programs at St. Anthony’s

A Community of Stability Through the Holidays

Friday, November 16th, 2012
by Intern Desk

Brooke Goalen is an intern this semester in St. Anthony’s Social Work Center. She is a senior at Calvin College and a psychology major, and is doing her internship through the Westmont in San Francisco Off-Campus program.

2012 is coming to an end as we approach the holiday season. The end of the year carries many mixed emotions and struggles for everyone. As we enter the holiday season, some people have a positive outlook on the last few months of the year because these months imply holiday food, special gifts, and family gatherings. Unfortunately, the majority of people struggle to keep a positive mindset due to the holidays being associated with busyness, heightened financial strains, family issues, and grievance of those who have passed away (Halal, 2006).

Mental Health America (2006) researched and discovered the top stressors that people experience during a holiday season: “finances, memories of lost loved ones and too many activities.” The other common stressors being: “over-indulgence, being alone, and time with family” (Halal, 2006). The researchers found that these stressors are generally more intense and common in the lives of parents, people of color, and/or people without a college degree (Halal, 2006).

The populations of people that are served at St. Anthony Foundation are no exception to the findings in the aforementioned research. Compared to holidays for the American population as a whole, the holidays for our guests are just as stressful, if not more stressful. Our guests struggle with the same kinds of stressors (finances, being alone, etc.) mentioned in the research, yet also tend fall into some of the population categories in which the stressors can be intensified (Halal, 2006).

At the Social Work Center, staff work to make St. Anthony’s a stable community and a de-stressor throughout the year, but especially during the holiday season. While still continuing with regular food pantry visits, emergency food boxes, and other stabilizing services, the Social Work Center (SWC) strives to make the holidays a less stressful time for our guests by offering different seasonal services and events. The SWC partners with local organizations to provide personalized holiday presents to the families and singles that utilize the Social Work Center. The SWC is also involved in the Curbside Donation Drive, where people from the community can donate food, clothing, and hygiene products to St. Anthony’s. Through generous donations, the SWC has the ability to offer special holiday food to guests, such as turkeys, cranberries, etc. For the SWC clients, the highlight of the holiday season is the SWC Christmas Party. Social Workers can give invitations to their clients for a holiday party where they can have fun, eat delicious food, socialize, and relax amidst the other stressors that may be burdening them during the holidays.

Halal, J. (2006, December 7). Survey Identifies Top Holiday Stressors, Who’s Most Stressed: Finances #1, People of Color Feel It Most. Mental Health America. Retrieved from

Welcome to the 25th Annual Curbside Donation Drive!

Friday, October 12th, 2012
by kmurphy

As we see year after year at St. Anthony’s, the abundance of gifts from people in the Bay Area is truly awe inspiring. If you’re a return donor to curbside, you’ll notice many changes this year as we are operating out of our temporary Dining Room at 150 Golden Gate Avenue. In addition to the new location for drop-off donations, we are asking for a specific list of essential items for our guests.

Please bring donations of food, hygiene items, new socks, and hand-knit scarves and hats specifically during the Curbside Donation Drives. Please help us to fill this critical need by focusing on donations of these items for 2012. All other donations are accepted throughout the year, Monday-Friday from 8am-4:15pm at our Free Clothing Program at 8th and Mission.

2012 Curbside Dates:
Saturday, November 17th – Thursday, November 22nd

Weekends: 9am-3pm; Weekdays: 8am-5pm

Saturday, December 22nd – Monday, December 24th
All days: 9am-3pm

Stay tuned as we announce details on activities, entertainment, and spreading holiday cheer to our guests through musical performances, gift bag giveaways and tree decorating. And thank you to the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and Nothing but Treble for joining St. Anthony’s on December 22nd and 23rd to bring holiday music to our guests.

A Week of Thanks

Monday, November 28th, 2011
by Tara Hildreth

Turkey Bowl

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.

Turkey Carve

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.

Thanksgiving Day

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!

We Give Thanks!

Thursday, November 25th, 2010
by Frankie

Thanksgiving is a special day at St. Anthony’s, as so many hands and hearts come together to prepare and share a meal and our reasons to be thankful. This year, members of many different faith tradtions stepped in to help prepare the 4,000 Thanksgiving Day meals, and hundreds of volunteers are stepping in to serve the meal. Photgrapher Craig Lee stopped by to take some pictures as well. We give thanks!

What do Nancy Pelosi & Aubrey Huff Have In Common?

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
by Doug Huggala

nancy pelosi and aubrey huff

nancy pelosi st anthony dining room

It sounds like the set up to a bad joke, but we assure there’s no punchline. The answer is the both Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff came down to volunteer at St. Anthony Dining Room the day before Thanksgiving. In the midst of both of their crazy schedules they both took time out to show gratitude and give back to their city.

Pelosi spent most of her volunteer experience pouring fresh water for guests already seated and eating in the Dining Room with her 5 year-old grandson, while Aubrey Huff prepared meals with St. Anthony Executive Director Shari Roeseler.

Thanks so much for coming down, you two! We look forward to seeing you in 2011.

Giving Thanks – A Day in the Life at St. Anthony’s!

Friday, November 19th, 2010
by Marie

thanksgiving soup kitchen

In less than a week, St. Anthony’s will be celebrating the annual Holiday of Thanksgiving along with much of the Country. The St. Anthony community of guests, volunteers, staff, and Foundation supporters will join in the traditional meal in the Dining Room, a family to be sure, as other families are doing so far and wide. But what a family here at 45 Jones Street! And this family gathers 365 days a year in the Dining Room

…  Any one of those days is a day of giving thanks, and yesterday was no exception. Just before we began to serve the meal, we gathered together to remember the life of a wonderful man—a volunteer and St. Anthony supporter in so many ways over the years. Gene had passed away recently, but not without leaving a lasting impression of joy and generosity on all of us in the St. Anthony’s family. We shared memories amongst tears and laughter, at the same time another member of our inclusive family was pushing a cart of food across the Dining Room expanse as quietly as he could: one of our beloved neighbors who shares the kitchen when preparing celebration meals for a nearby mosque. Yesterday, the tasty items he brought over to prepare were for Eid Al-Adha.

And my heart swelled with joy—even in the middle of sadness—sadness for the loss of a dear member of our “family”, sadness for the growing number of people living in poverty, and sadness for so many divisions of mistrust in our world. The joy of being in community, of being in family with everyone who walks through the Dining Room doors, sets the table each day with the most important ingredient of every meal for each and every person—that essential ingredient is belonging.

Turkey Bowl X!

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
by Frankie

turkey bowl x

Rex Golobic Donates Tens of Thousands of Turkeys to St. Anthony Dining Room This Decade

Turkey Bowl at Serra Bowl has become a favorite holiday tradition.

Every year just two days prior to Thanksgiving, pro bowlers, celebrities and the community come out to bowl at Serra Bowl in Daly City to roll strikes for turkeys. The money raised goes to buy turkeys to benefit the St. Anthony Dining Room as well as the North Peninsula Food Pantry & Dining Center of Daly City.

This is its tenth year it has been held by Rex Golobic and his family — the owners of Serra Bowl. Rex created this event to help feed the hungry over the holidays. It has been a huge success and over 1,000 turkeys are contributed each year to help those in need over the holiday season.

The friars of St. Anthony always come out to join in the fun and bowl strikes for turkeys. They are a big hit and receive enormous media coverage by the popular Bay Area sports anchors.

But Turkey Bowl is not the only involvement Rex Golobic and his family has had in assisting the St. Anthony Foundation. For 35 years the Golobic family ran Downtown Bowl and was involved in various neighborhood community volunteer projects to clean up the streets and make the Tenderloin a safer place.

From all of us at St. Anthony’s, we want to thank Rex Golobic and his family for their much appreciated generosity and leadership.

More Thanks To Give!

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009
by Frankie

118-1882_img1I received this the other day from one of our Thanksgiving volunteers:

“As a single U.C. retiree, without family, in planning how I would spend my Thanksgiving today, I had three options:

(1) I could hole up in my apartment, watch television all day, eating left-overs, and feeling very, very sorry for myself; or,

(2) I could have a 7-course dinner at inflated prices in some hotel
dining room, turned off by such an over- abundance of food with so much hunger in the Bay Area; or,

(3) I could take Bart over to San Francisco and head for St. Anthony’s Dining Room, helping serve hundreds of homeless, jobless people, who are so thankful for this generous holiday dinner served in a warm, caring and happy atmosphere, where they’re made to feel like a welcome guest.

I’ve been a volunteer at St. Anthony’s Dining Room for several years and feel richly rewarded for my slight contribution to their wonderful program.”

We give thanks for our amazing volunteers!

Craig Newmark At St. Anthony’s!

Thursday, November 26th, 2009
by Frankie

craig_newmarkCraig Newmark just visited us at the St. Anthony Dining Room. What a gracious fellow. We talked about the digital divide and how to get more people on line so they can get jobs.  As Craig left the Dining Room, someone extented their hand to him an said “Are you Craig from Craigslist? I got my last job from Craigslist. Actually, I got my last 5 or 6 jobs from Craigslist.”  We are trying to make that happen at the Tenderloin Tech Lab with Network Ministries, and Craig is obviously making that happen on his end.