Wednesday, April 24, 2013

San Francisco Volunteer and Training Opportunities

·         Sunday Hospitality Hour: 7-9:30am, Help serve 120-160 individuals, including as many as twenty children under the age of eight.  @ St. Francis
·         Tuesday Welcome Center: 1:30-2:30pm, Help serve between 45-75 individuals a light lunch.  @ Old First
·         Wednesday Senior Program: 10am-1pm, Help serve 40-65 seniors. @ St. Francis
·         Wednesday Free Farming: 10am-2pm, Urban farming, with produce given away free to local residents.  A free vegan lunch is shared around 12pm. @ The Free Farm
·         Saturday Food Preparation: 9:30am-2pm, Receive donations from local grocery stores, make sandwiches and prep the Sunday morning meal. @ St. Francis
·         Saturday Free Farming: 10am-2pm, Urban farming, with produce given away free to local residents.  A free vegan lunch is shared around 12pm.  @ The Free Farm
·         3rd Saturday Usher, Deacon and Volunteer Training: 1-3pm One hour of education in issues about addiction, mental health and poverty issues followed by an hour of connecting with individuals from other congregations to learn what is working in other spaces. @ St. Francis
·         2nd and 4th Saturday Community Dinners: Eat with 150-300 guests.  Hosting opportunities to serve the meal are also available.  @ Old First
Upcoming Training Events:
·         April 20th, Support for homeless veterans: 1-3pm, Learn about resources available for homeless veterans in our community, in partnership with the San Francisco VA.  @ St. Francis
·         April 30th, Food Safety Training: 1-4pm, Learn proper food handling and safety.  Location information provided to individuals who RSVP to

Old First Presbyterian Church is located at 1751 Sacramento St in San Francisco.  Push the button marked “Munro Room” near the Sacramento entrance (wooden door with glass windows in it) to enter the building.  Free parking is available for volunteers at the Old First Parking Garage with validation.   
St. Francis Lutheran Church is located at 152 Church St in San Francisco.  Push the button on the gate (near the Memorial Terrace )marked “parish hall” for volunteer activities or “conference room” for training events.
The Free Farm is located at the corner of Eddy and Gough in San Francisco.

If you have any questions about any volunteer or training opportunities, email to learn more.

Programs at Old First Presbyterian in San Francisco

The weekly Tuesday meals at Old First, which have fed 548 individuals this year, have been serving an increasing number of guests over the past few months.  Pastor Maggi, of Old First, created a relationship with the Blue Fog Deli and Market on Polk and Sacramento, who now provide free day-old pastries and bread for the Welcome meals. This has resulted in more substantial meals, which the guests appreciate.  In the past few months, the leadership at the meals have been able to provide tickets to a musical performance, phone calls to social workers and representative payees, clothing referrals to the St Vincent de Paul's Help Desk, prayers for those who ask for them, mail service and accompaniment to the County Welfare office.

Our 2nd and 4th Saturday meals have feed 1,320 individuals so far this year.   We have stopped giving away clothing at our Old First meals.  Individuals interested in donating clothes, should take them to our St. Francis location.  Guests who are in need of clothing or blankets are directed to see leaders at Old First, who will make clothing referrals, or distribute some of the small supply of clothing and blankets that are typically on hand.  Volunteers who had previously taken on clothing distribution at Old First meals are now distributing toiletries and socks, when we have them.

One issue Welcome has been looking at, and will continue to explore, is the possibility of eliminating the line outside of the church on Saturday evenings. There have been no complaints so far, but we would like to encourage our guests to spend the time waiting elsewhere - hopefully in a place more comfortable than the sidewalk – in light of the fact that being first in line does not mean one is served first.  Once inside the church, there is no line for guests.  Everyone sits and is served restaurant style.

Programs at St. Francis Lutheran in San Francisco

This year, Welcome began a partnership with St. Francis Lutheran Church which has enabled them to continue the Wednesday Senior Program and Sunday morning Hospitality Hours that have served the Castro/Duboce Triangle neighborhood for more than a decade.  With 1,480 meals served at St. Francis since the partnership began, Welcome will double the number of individuals we feed this year. 

56% of individuals who are HIV positive in San Francisco lack enough food to regularly take their medications.  We’re working on ensuring that the nutrition provided at the Hospitality Hour supports the needs of these individuals living with HIV/AIDS.  Additionally, with as many as twenty children under the age of eight, Welcome has also worked to provide special kids meals and activities.  

An Urban Pilgrimage to San Francisco

Did you know that Welcome provides opportunities for individuals and groups to participate in an Urban Pilgrimage to San Francisco? Welcome's collaboration with SF CARES, makes it possible for Urban Pilgrimage participants to serve at diverse ministries that work with the homeless and hungry throughout San Francisco.      

Pastor Jamie Michaels, the campus pastor for the Wesley Foundation at the University of Merced, recently brought a group of students to attended meals hosted by Welcome.  They served the hungry in the Castro/Duboce Triangle in partnership with St. Francis Lutheran Church and in the Polk Gultch neighborhood in partnership with Old First Presbyterian Church and Faithful Fools.  They also participated in the Night Ministry's Open Cathedral in the Civic Center and St. Paulus Lutheran’s Friendship Banquet in the Western Addition.

After the Urban Pilgrimage, Pastor Jamie noted that the intersections of poverty and the high number of LGBTQ individuals who are being served at Welcome’s programs at Old First and St. Francis surprised students who “really touched by the relationships the volunteers had with those they serve with the poor and homeless.  This is not something we are accustomed to where we are from.”

“Another thing the students were really surprised by, because they come from really conservative church backgrounds, is that the people who were on the frontlines and doing the work of feeding the poor and hungry here in San Francisco, are the same people who are condemned by their home churches.  So the same people, who were thrown out of their churches because they are gay, were actually doing the hard work for the poor and homeless here.”

What would your faith community learn if they joined Welcome for an Urban Pilgrimage?  If you want to learn more, contact

Welcome was proud to be invited by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, to help provide educational materials for individuals and congregations interested in responding to local poverty.  Our project online project has been visited by over 7,000 individuals since it began in June.  One of the most surprising discoveries we have made about this project to date, is the popularity of bible and liturgy resources.  We have an average of sixty participants a week who utilize resources from our Bible Study that Doesn’tSuck ™ materials.