Almanac

Cover Story - November 23, 2011

Holiday Fund: St. Anthony's helps its neighbors

By Patricia Papalian, development committee volunteer, St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room.

Since 1974 the mission of St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room has been to provide a hot, nutritious meal to anyone in need. There are no fees, no questions, and no one is turned away.

Six days a week this bustling Menlo Park soup kitchen serves 600 guests a complete hot meal while providing take-home groceries, health services and a free clothing store.

The Dining Room is not only a place of refuge, but also a community resource hub where patrons can network and share important information concerning social services, training and job openings.

Who do we serve?

Guests include working and non-working singles, families, seniors, the homeless, newcomers to the Bay Area, the disabled and others.

Nan, a former guest, recently shared the harrowing story of how she escaped Communist Vietnam in the 1970s. She will never forget the meager provisions and wretched conditions aboard the boat in which she sailed toward her uncertain future.

When pirates raided the vessel, the terrified young woman, fearing assault, hid in a crevice, slathering mud on her face to "make herself as ugly as possible."

Noting the austere conditions aboard, however, the marauders promptly fled.

In California, Nan — already traumatized — was now in the throes of culture shock. St. Anthony's offered her much-needed stability while she struggled to assimilate.

In the years that followed, she learned English, made friends, gained citizenship and found work. Three decades later, Nan lives an edifying life of employment, family, and giving back to the community that helped her.

Not every guest at St. Anthony's has a story as dramatic and far-reaching as Nan's, but each, like Nan, has great vulnerability and desperately needs sustenance. Noting her experience, Nan expresses how comforted she is "to know a place like St. Anthony's exists" for those who have fallen on hard times.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are among the busiest days of the year, when the Dining Room serves as many as 1,000 meals. The Menlo Park Fire Protection District collects toys throughout the holiday season for St. Anthony's to distribute to underprivileged children at Christmas. This heartening collaboration results in some 2,000 poverty stricken children receiving toys at St. Anthony's annual Christmas giveaway.

St. Anthony's is funded by donations and grants from many individuals, local businesses, and foundations. The cost of serving over 175,000 meals this year is enormous. Donations are welcome and needed.

At St. Anthony's — "We do not believe in miracles. ... We count on them."

Donations to the Holiday Fund benefit St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room and nine other community-service organizations. St. Anthony's is at 3500 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025. Go to paduadiningroom.com or call (650) 365-9664 for more information.

To give to the Holiday Fund online, go to http://siliconvalleycf.org/almanac-holiday-fund

Comments

Posted by Jack Hickey, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Nov 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm

"St. Anthony's is funded by donations and grants from many individuals, local businesses, and foundations. The cost of serving over 175,000 meals this year is enormous. Donations are welcome and needed."
St. Anthony's is also funded by tax dollars. They have applied for and received $100,000 in a Grant of property tax dollars from the Sequoia Healthcare District. See:
Web Link


Posted by Jack Hickey, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Nov 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Correction: They have applied for and received $200,000 in Grants of property tax dollars from the Sequoia Healthcare District in the past two years.


Posted by Jack Hickey, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Nov 23, 2011 at 1:13 pm

To see who is contributing your tax dollars to their favorite charities, see: Web Link
This promotion on the Sequoia Healthcare District website, courtesy of our $4,700/month PR guy, shows Board President, Kim Griffin, and Boardmember Jerry Shefren helping "...feed the hungry...". Also shown is District staff member Glenn Nielsen.
Kim Griffin, along with fellow Boardmember Katie Kane are up for re-election in November 2012. Shefren and Art Faro, the remaining Boardmember engaging in this pseudo-philanthropy, are up for re-election in November 2014. If you want them to continue contributing your tax dollars to their favorite charities, be sure to vote for them.


Posted by HawkeyePierce, a resident of another community
on Nov 28, 2011 at 11:47 am

So, Jack, where do you think St. Anthony's should get their money from? What charities do you think SHD should contribute to?


Posted by Jack Hickey, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Dec 1, 2011 at 1:33 pm

St. Anthoney's Donations page on it's website states:
"Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver"(2 Cor.9:7)" See:Web Link
I was one of those "givers" until they succumbed to the temptation of tax dollars.
The Sequoia Hospital District, which no longer owns a hospital, should not contribute tax dollars to any charitable organizations, it should be dissolved. See: Web Link: People should decide fate of health care district&id=222358 and, Web Link


Posted by Jack Hickey, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Dec 21, 2013 at 11:36 am

St. Anthoney's Donations page on it's website NO LONGER states:
"Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver"(2 Cor.9:7)"
However, the Almanac Holiday Fund refers to St. Anthony de Padua Dining Room as "Funded entirely by voluntary contributions..."
That is false.


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