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The Spirit of Thanksgiving at St. Anthony’s Shines in This Season of Hope

November 27, 2023

Thanksgiving here at St. Anthony’s was a day of community spirit and shared gratitude, imbued with caritate dei (God’s love). The Dining Room was full of joy and fellowship. Thousands of guests gathered to relish a meal together and engage in lively conversations. It was a day filled with an abundance of food, warmth, and connection shared among everyone present.

Br. Tony kicked it off with a beautiful prayer where he gave thanks to God for having created and sustained us, and the opportunity to gather as a community.

Chef Annria and her talented team meticulously prepared an array of traditional holiday dishes that represented more than just culinary expertise. The feast symbolized the core American values of gratitude and unity. The Dining Room reflected the richness and diversity of our nation, bringing us together in a unified celebration of thankfulness for our collective abundance. 

A member of the community once asked, “Who are the people who eat here?” Father Alfred’s answer: “The hungry—old and young—the shabby and the presentable, the clean and the otherwise”.

The Dining Room, which Father Alfred envisioned to be a space where holidays are celebrated as they should be celebrated, has marked 73 Thanksgiving celebrations and thousands of turkeys carved! The first Thanksgiving meal, which served over 2,000 guests, was entirely funded by donations from compassionate individuals. This spirit of generosity and care for the less fortunate continues to this day.

Gratitude is when you feel the abundance of unconditional grace showering blessings on your life.

— Deepak Chopra

Hundreds of volunteers dedicated their time throughout the week, bringing to life multiple celebratory events leading up to Thanksgiving. Everyone’s commitment to not just providing a hot meal, but a magnificent feast, complete with all the holiday fixings in a warm and friendly environment, truly reflects the heart of our city.

“I think that was the best Thanksgiving I could have asked for,” said Chrissy, a St. Anthony’s guest.

Each year, we accomplish more than just another successful event together; we embody what it means to be a San Franciscan. The abundance of support and kindness make every Thanksgiving here on our block a remarkable occasion.

“Our job is to treat [guests] so they are aware of their dignity,” Father Alfred said in the early 1950s. More than 70 years later, we continue to uphold that mission.

Thank you to KTVU, CBS News Bay Area/KPIX, KRON4, and ABC7 News Bay Area for covering our Thanksgiving Day meal service this year!

Job well done, San Francisco!

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