Behind the scenes in our Dining Room

Ready to be wowed? St. Anthony’s Dining Room serves over 2,000 meals every day to homeless and low-income San Franciscans. Behind the scenes of this magical meal operation is our executive chef, Char Marsden. Each day, Char is faced with the challenge of crafting recipes based off of the donated ingredients that she has on hand. “I’ve worked in a lot of restaurants all over the world and nothing prepares you for what it’s like at St. Anthony’s—this is a very unique environment. If I cook a Moroccan stew today, it’s not going to be the same next month because it’s going to be depending on what I can get.” Want to learn more about our Dining Room? Watch a short clip...

A changed life: Douglas’ Story

When Douglas first came through St. Anthony’s Father Alfred Center recovery program, CSS Manager, Wayne Garnett wasn’t sure that he was right for Client Safety Services. “Douglas had this frown on his face. He was angry a lot,” Wayne remembers, “Prior to his graduation I hired him, and I did that as a favor, because I was alumni at Father Alfred Center, which taught me something about judging people by the way they look. I’ll never forget when Douglas said to me ‘Just give me a chance man—all I need is a real chance to show you that I can do this.’ And the moment he said that to me was the moment when I started to see a big change in Douglas. I depend on Douglas so much because Douglas reaches out to people. Douglas has this understanding of what these people are going through. I mean a lot of us have it, but his is just a little deeper. Things that he does are, to me, spiritual—there’s just something about him. From the first time I saw him to seeing him now I think to myself—how many opportunities have I missed on people just by judging them?” by judging them on the way they look?” We spoke to Douglas about his experience working with the guests at St. Anthony’s. “I have learned to talk them through things when they are having a rough time” Douglas explained, “It diffuses the situation and it also builds more character in me. Instead of being violent, I’ve learned to show compassion for people and that ability is a blessing that I got...

Inspired to Give Back: Our New Board President’s Story

We sat down with Kevin Bouey, 5th generation San Franciscan, to ask him about his San Franciscan roots, his connection to St. Anthony’s, and his hopes for the future of the organization. “Both of my parents had volunteer roles over the years. It was never a discussion. It was just what they did. They went to work, they spent time with their kids, and they volunteered. My own expectation was that I would go to college, get a job, and then find somewhere to give back.” “When I got a job at Wells Fargo and settled back into the City, an opportunity came up for me to serve on the Finance committee of St. Anthony Foundation. I jumped at the chance to get involved. I was excited because I knew how unique St. Anthony’s is. The staff is committed to their jobs in a way that I have never seen before and that creates this tangible feeling that we are part of something more powerful and more meaningful than ourselves.” Kevin has now served on the Board for nine years. “It’s been an amazing learning experience to go through the capital campaigns to build two new buildings and the transitions that we went through during the financial crisis. We need to ensure St. Anthony’s is there, ready to serve the many needs of this community.” Kevin noted the importance of St. Anthony’s commitment to its core values. “When you are out walking downtown and you see someone homeless or troubled you try to look away. This is how our society has trained us to deal with these issues. To...

A New Member of the Chaplaincy Team

Br. Dick Tandy (DT) has been appointed chaplain at St. Anthony’s, teaming up with Br. Chris! Br. DT was about to retire when he saw a video clip about St. Anthony’s that deeply moved him. He immediately applied to work as a chaplain at St. Anthony’s and was accepted to the position. We sat down with Br. DT to learn more about the friars’ role at our organization. “A chaplain’s role is to minister and to meet the spiritual needs of our staff, guests, and volunteers”, explained Br. DT, “we are a listening ear that does not judge.” Can people make confessions to a chaplain? Br. DT noted that they can—however he himself is not a priest so he cannot grant absolution, that being said he can offer confidentiality, “It’s kind of like what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, Br. DT joked. Appointments to see Br. DT or Br. Chris can be made by email, or by phone. If you would like to sit down with Br. DT you can see him during his office hours from 1:30 to 3pm most days in the chaplain’s office of 150 Golden...

Taking the conversation deeper

“People really want to tell their stories”, explained longtime volunteer Sudie. “That is what was most evident to me over the two days that we interviewed people for our recent advocacy campaign concerning hygiene services in our city. People want to tell their stories, they want to make change, and they want to have some say in what that change is. At the beginning of the project, I was nervous—how do you interview someone by asking them where they go to the bathroom? It seems so personal. But the people that we interviewed understood the issue and they understood why we would ask that question. In the city, when you go to Bart or you go to Muni, you see excrement on the street, but when you come to St. Anthony’s you see people—and someone who told just you their story might have been the one who left that on the street—but it’s not because they wanted to.” “I was a teacher for many years, and school politics are hard—everything is black and white. Someone once said to me many years ago, “Sudie, you always see the grey” and that is what you have to do. You can’t just look at the black or white of any issue. You can’t assume that you understand someone’s reason for doing what they do. You don’t know their backstory—and that’s what the advocacy committee is really working on—it’s about stories, it’s about backstories, it’s about taking the conversation deeper. We need to make the effort to really understand what these people are going through.” Volunteering with our advocacy committee is a powerful...