In February, the first month of Welcome’s partnership with St. Francis, the Sunday morning Hospitality Hour fed 506 adults, 38 children under eight, assured 6 individuals of their forgiveness and fixed one wheelchair.
Additionally, I have attended two neighborhood meetings where the overwhelming majority of individuals supported St. Francis. The San Francisco Examiner has printed three articles about the meeting, two were about the negativity of neighbors, one was a cover story and the last was an editorial supporting the congregation. The photographer, who came to visit the program, was so moved she signed up to volunteer.
In response to the Examiner articles, St. Francis received a donation with the following note: "when people complain the neighborhood church is feeding too many homeless people, that's where I want to send my money."
At the next neighborhood meeting on March 25th, I have been invited to present about the meal program at St. Francis. I plan to remind the neighbors that St. Francis has been a leader in the response to HIV/AIDs and that we are committed to help feed the 56% of infected individuals in San Francisco who don’t have enough food to take their medications regularly. I will also be letting the neighbors know that the city’s Homeless Outreach Team will be partnering with Welcome to work on getting homeless individuals at our meal program and sleeping on the streets near the church into permanent stable housing.
A few weeks ago, I gave a few of the children who eat at the Hospitality Hour a tour of the church. David Schoffeild the Director of Music at St Francis, showed them the organ. The next Sunday, the children asked if they could see the pulpit and they practiced proclaiming: “No matter what anyone says, God loves you!” Last Sunday, one of the young children gave me a huge hug and showed me her new cross necklace. Her unchurched parents said she was looking forward to coming to church all week.
Though it may have come an unexpected way, St. Francis can now proudly say that you have a children’s program on Sundays; it starts a few hours earlier than church and all the children leave with peanut butter and jelly on their daily bread.
Interested in volunteering at the Hospitality Hour, collecting food pantry donations or cooking on Saturdays from 9am-12pm or serving food Sunday mornings from 7am-9am? Contact our volunteer coordinator Pastor Valerie McEntee at firstname.lastname@example.org to found out how you can help!