St. Anna’s Food Pantry has existed in many forms at least since the 1970’s when Fr. Bob Dodwell introduced “The Night Owls”, a group of ladies who would prepare sandwiches at night then distribute them the next day to the unhoused and hungry.
After several iterations of the program over the years, today St. Anna’s identifies families in the neighborhood that need assistance in the form of food. In general, these families are older, live on fixed incomes, are multi-generational, and/or have recent financial hardships causing them to run short of food provided by food stamps toward the end of the month. Families on our Food Pantry list remain on the list for as long as they have a need to provide food security at least in some measure. We fill the gap by providing two bags of groceries monthly.
Under the auspices of the Food Pantry, we also serve the unhoused, providing Blessing Bags that contain a 5-item meal (sandwich, fruit, chips, granola bar, and water). When available, socks, t-shirts, hygiene items, and candy are also distributed. While we serve those living under the Interstate Highway close to St. Anna’s, we also collaborate with Crescent Care Health Clinic’s Syringe Access Program.
We rely on non-perishable food and monetary donations and volunteers to continue this ministry. Volunteers assist with grocery shopping, packing bags, and pickup and delivery distribution. The surrounding community has embraced the Food Pantry and a series of fundraisers by local businesses and social clubs, mostly in the LGBT community, have raised considerable funds to support this outreach.