Back to School Day 2016

The first day of school is fast approaching and for many families this means a shopping trip to get a new backpack, school supplies and a fresh new set of clothing. However, for many families in the San Francisco community, especially those that visit St. Anthony’s Free Clothing Program, these shopping trips are simply not a financial reality. According to data from 2014, 81 percent of the families that utilize the services at our Free Clothing Program live at or below the federal poverty line, and the average monthly income for families that utilize these services is $1,441.20. When a family has to pay for rent, medical costs, food, and other bills, it doesn’t leave much behind in the budget to spend on getting the essentials for school. Therefore, we see a lot of families using our Free Clothing Program during this time of year. On Wednesday, August 10 we will be hosting our 5th annual Back to School event. Thanks to the generosity of our corporate partner, Dolby, along with Chronicle Books and Gap Inc., our Free Clothing Program will be able to provide 200 children with a new backpack filled with school supplies and books as well as new sets of clothing to get them prepared and ready for the first day of school. In addition, a personalized pair of shoes and a $50 gift card to Old Navy, courtesy of My New Red Shoes, will be included! Volunteer groups from Gap, Dolby, Silicon Valley Bank, and Zendesk will be on hand to help make this our best Back to School Day ever. St. Anthony’s is committed to making sure...

Salesforce Helps our Guests Dress for Success

Say you have a job interview, but no clothing that is suitable.  What can you do?  You might visit St. Anthony’s Free Clothing Program. There you would find shirts, pants, suits, jackets and all the things you need to look sharp for that big interview. All donations at St. Anthony’s are carefully quality-checked to ensure that the garments you receive will make you look and feel your best. But what if your only dress shirt had a spot on the arm and you had no choice but to wear it? You might try to cover the spot up with a jacket, or hold an arm in front of it and hope the interviewer wouldn’t notice. Would you feel somehow less confident, less on par with the other applicants? Would thinking about hiding that spot prevent you from selling yourself—from being self-confident? Twice a month, new employees from Salesforce come to volunteer at our clothing program and they are asked this very question. Having just gone through the interview process, they all agree that having clothing that it is somehow “less than” other candidates would hamper their ability to interview successfully. Salesforce volunteers work tirelessly in our Free Clothing Program sorting and organizing donations. We depend on their hard work and team spirit to provide quality clothing to our guests. We were delighted to receive 5 large boxes of nearly 500 crisp new dress shirts, along with stylish work bags. A huge thank you to Salesforce volunteers who understand the power a new white shirt has to change...

“God Draws with Crooked Lines”

Each year St. Anthony’s celebrates our founder, Father (Fr.) Alfred Boeddeker, by giving an award in his name to those who carry out his mission to “feed, heal, shelter, clothe, and lift the hearts of those in need.” This year, the award will honor Fr. John Hardin, OFM, a man who followed Fr. Alfred by becoming a Franciscan and by serving hope daily at St. Anthony’s. As Executive Director, Fr. John helped reshape St. Anthony’s programs to fit changing needs in a changing economy. He helped prepare the organization for the demands of the 21st century by replacing our deteriorated original building with two new, more efficient ones. He has been noted for connecting emotionally with our guests, and for his Franciscan qualities of personalism and joy. John Hardin graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in mathematics and was successful in the transportation business before entering the Franciscans. On his first trip overseas, John was eating dinner at the Floating Restaurant in Hong Kong harbor when he looked out and saw a group of boat people coming in from Vietnam. “The nickel dropped. I was having a great time and not worrying about anything, and here were these people who had barely survived a very dangerous journey to escape Vietnam and certainly did not know where they were going to get their next meal.” Once at home, he went to a retreat center and met the Franciscans for the first time. He has now been in the order for thirty-five years. Fr. John lived at St. Boniface with Fr. Alfred from 1986 to 1991. “Alfred’s motto was:...

Young Professionals Council Day of Service

Our Young Professionals Council brings together their passion, skills, and networks to elevate the essential support St. Anthony’s provides every day. Last weekend, their first-ever volunteer event brought 50 young San Franciscans together for a crash course in all things St. Anthony’s: our history, our values, our services, and most importantly, our guests. The group kicked off the day with a justice education orientation, learning about the Tenderloin neighborhood and the population we serve. They then headed out to volunteer in our Dining Room and Free Clothing Programs, followed by tours of the rest of our Golden Gate campus, including our Medical Clinic, Technology Lab, Social Work Center and prep kitchen. Thank you all for sharing your time and talent with us! Check out photos from our YPC’s day of service...

Guests to Voters! Come be a Voter Registration Volunteer.

St. Anthony’s works every day with people who can’t vote because they’re not registered. Why? The registration process itself can be intimidating and confusing – and many homeless guests worry that their lack of a permanent place to live means they can’t vote. This election season we want to sign-up the entire St. Anthony’s community. We need your help. Our volunteers will staff voter registration tables in the dining room: answering questions and signing people up to vote using online and paper applications. All volunteers benefit from a short, informative voter registration training that outlines the basics needed to get started. The registration drive will run each Wednesday and Saturday during our peak hours of 10.30am to 12.30pm. The process is strictly non-partisan – we’re excited to register anyone and everyone who is eligible to vote! If you’d like to get involved please sign up for our one-time training session by contacting Josh Messick at jmessick@StAnthonySF.org or registering at the link below. Volunteers will attend a training and voter registration shifts will be scheduled afterwards. Sign-Up for  Voter Registration...

Fully Invested

Priya, a dedicated volunteer in our Dining Room, is also a professional economist. When she arrived in the US in the spring of 2014 she was shocked by the poverty and inequity she witnessed in San Francisco: “You can’t NOT see it!” Within two months of her arrival, Priya began volunteering at St. Anthony’s. In addition to the Dining Room, she’s also volunteered in our Free Clothing Program, at our annual Curbside Donation Drives, and most recently—in our Emergency Winter Shelter. Indeed, how can anyone not see how people are struggling to survive? Nevertheless, a painfully obvious poverty is too often ignored or viewed as an eyesore to be swept away. Priya has a website dedicated to revealing “the Hidden America”, but “there’s only so much one can do by reading and writing. You need to get out and meet people.” And therein lies the hope. While speaking with Executive Director Barry Stenger, Priya says she was struck by something he said: “We don’t give people dignity… Dignity is intrinsic, but because of the challenges so many of our guests have been through, the sense of their own dignity can be deeply buried. What we do is try to restore that intrinsic dignity.” “Hope served daily” is the restoration of dignity Priya experiences when volunteering. “Really, it’s just the simple things—smiling, knowing and saying someone’s name, really listening to someone, remembering something they said and following up on that the next time you see them.” She too is served hope daily by “their indomitable spirit! When I ask someone how they are the answer is nearly always: ‘I’m blessed!’...