Saint Francis
of Assisi
 
Sacramento, CA    Home  | Ministries of Care  |  Step/Breakfast Ministry  | St. Francis Pathways for Justice

church front steps


For more information, contact: Richard Hernandez, Director of Outreach (916) 443-8084 x114 or RichardH@stfrancisparish.com


St. Francis Parish offers a daily welcoming presence, a safe sleeping space and a nutritional breakfast to approximately 16 of our homeless brothers and sisters. We serve over 100 in a year.

Mission Statement

  • Providing a place where all are welcome.
  • Recognizing the presence of Christ in each other as we gather together in the courtyard each evening to listen, share, and support one another.
  • Responding compassionately to the needs of our guests, believing it is gospel justice for all to have a safe place to sleep.
  • Being considerate of the impact of this ministry on the extended community.


Vision Statement

  • Be an expression f love
  • Continue to evolve in understanding and responding to our gospel call.
  • Be a model for other churches and communities.
  • Collaboratively build community and maintain sacred space.
  • Support each other in life transitions.
  • Seek to enhance community awareness of the needs of the homeless.
  • Provide opportunities for neighbor/community interaction with Step guests and ministers.
  • Share with others from the heart of our experience with the Step Ministry.
  • Model the Franciscan spirit by being instruments of peace, love, forgiveness, faith, hope, light, and joy in all aspects of the ministry.
  • Coillaborate with the parish community and administrative body.

We Are Called To “Feed the Hungry” & “Shelter the Homeless”
Homeless “God comes in every voice, behind every face, in every memory, deep in every struggle.”

Our brothers and sisters who are homeless and find shelter with us every night need your generosity and prayerful support.

Donations provide the following services:

  • $5: One night’s shelter & breakfast for 1 of our guests
  • $20: One night’s shelter & breakfast for 4 of our guests
  • $10: One week’s breakfast for 1 of our guests
  • $35: One week’s shelter & breakfast for 1 of our guests
  • $25: Christmas Eve & Christmas Day Dinner for 1 of our guests
  • $50: Christmas Eve motel voucher for 1 of our guests
  • $50: Sleeping bag (given out as needed to folks who have nothing)
  • $50: Cot (we replace costs annually)

Goldenrod donation envelopes are available in the racks at the back of the church and may be placed in the collection basket or mailed in.

You can also donate online. You will be asked for a donation amount. On the "Make Your Payment" page, select "Outreach to the Homeless (Step Ministry Fund)".

Breakfast Ministry

Volunteers serve a simple meal every morning to the Guests who stay in our courtyard. This ministry depends on our volunteer teams as well as on food and monetary donations from the rest of the parish.

Food Donations

The following items may be brought to church on the first Sunday of the month and placed in the shopping cart inside the mainentrance of the church or brought to Parish Center during the week:

Food Items We Can use:Grocery Cart

  • Individual fruit cups
  • Individual fruit juice boxes
  • Indidivudal cold cereal boxes
  • Individual oatmeal packets
  • Peanut-butter crackers
  • Breakfast bars
  • Hot Chocolate packets
  • Coffee

Please note: We are unable to use canned items or items that aren't individually packaged, and our guests find crunchy granola bars to be difficult to chew, so....

We supplement these items with our purchases of cheese sticks, fresh fruit and milk. PLEASE do not drop off perishable items or clothing.

Financial Donations:

Financial donations are welcome and appreciated to cover these expense items and may be made using the goldenrod Step Ministry donation envelopes which are available in the racks at the back of the church and may be placed in the collection basket or mailed in.

You can also donate online. You will be asked for a donation amount. On the "Make Your Payment" page, select "Outreach to the Homeless (Step Ministry Fund)".

Our Step Guests Are Greateful
Our Step guests are grateful for the warm welcome they receive at St. Francis. The following thank you is from a recent guest:

"I have a lot of gratitude for finding this place and I thank God each day for the guidance to find it. I want you to know that the team of volunteers you have gathered to help the people that come as guests are as close to angels as possible. They are so appreciated for all their time, energy and patience they give to each guest and this cause, it is a good cause and is so much needed in our community. Please tell each one of them they are appreciated so much and convey a "thank you" to each one of them for me. The world is a better place because of you and all of them. You truly have compassion and concern. I thank you with all my heart. I am 53 and this is the first time in my entire life that I have no place to call home and you have made it easier to deal with. Thank you..."

For More about the Step Ministry
Click on the links below to our reflection, entitled, "Box Seats."

Note: The title, "Box Seats," is derived from a standing joke that developed during our very beginning on the front steps of the church. As you may know, flattened cardboard boxes are used by homeless folks to cushion the unforgiving hardness of the concrete and also as insulation from the dampness that seems to rise up out of the ground like a malevolent spirit when the sun goes down. Each evening guests and Step Ministers alike would sit on the top step of the church on flattened cardboard boxes sharing the details of their day and watching the hustle and bustle of passesrby finishing up their respective days. Upon arrival of an additional guest or minister, someone would always flop down a vacant piece of cardboard and beckon the new arrival up with the greeting, "Hey, come on up. We've got box seats. The view is great!" All would laugh no matter how many times this scene was repeated.

 

 

 

 

Step Ministry to the Homeless
Ministry One day each week
6:00 - 7:30 PM in the Parish Center Courtyard

"What you do for the least of my brethren...."
Homeless not only for a room made of bricks but homeless from being rejected, unwanted, completely torn out of society....
That unwanted one is my brother and my sister....
We belong to each other.
– Mother Teresa

The courtyard of our Parish Center provides a sacred dwelling place where a community of ministers and homeless guests meet each other on holy ground and give witness and dignity to our shared experiences.  This ministry is rooted in Scripture and responds to the call to welcome strangers, provide shelter to the wanderer, love thy neighbor, and not turn away from the needs of others.

As a Step Minister, you have the opportunity to serve as a welcoming presence for the homeless guests of the St. Francis Step Ministry one day a week from 6:00 -7:30PM.

The Step Ministry provides a safe, peaceful and private place to sleep in the Parish Center Courtyard. This ministry is rooted in Scripture and responds to the call to welcome strangers, provide shelter to the wanderer, love thy neighbor, and not turn away from the needs of others.

More Information:

What does it mean to be a Step Minister?

"First and foremost, I believe I am doing the Lord's work in the most basic sense. Our guests so appreciate the human contact and the acknowledgment that we know they exist and that we "choose" to be with them.... It puts things in perspective for me in that I am so blessed to have food and shelter and family to take care of me. Any one of us could be homeless, depending on what life brings our way."

—Step Minister (10 years)

"These last nine months have been very rewarding for me as a Step Minister with St. Francis. Showing love and compassion for our fellow human beings, along with being in a position of giving back, is a miracle in itself. Our guests are in need of shelter, along with having someone who sincerely cares and will listen to them."

—Step Minister (9 months)

"I have grown in love, compassion, and tolerance. I do not sturggle with jugdments as much as I did before... I see the humanity in these people. I am a better person for it."

—former Step Minister

Breakfast Ministry to the Homeless
Breakfast

Are you and early riser?
Can you smile and say "Good Morning" and mean it?
Do you wish to grow in your capacity for compassion and love?
Is your spirit nourished in knowing that your presence makes a difference?

If so, please consider becoming amember of our Breakfast Ministry. As a Breakfast Minister, you will be part of a team that starts its day by offering a hot cup of coffee, a warm smile and a light breakfast to our homeless guests. If you can help with this important and grace-filled ministry, or would like more information about it, please contact Margaret Healey at margaret@cafoodlink.org.

An Inspiring Story of "Making a Difference"

Barcelona is her name, and she and her family have been parishioners here at St. Francis for many years. She came to me after Mass one Sunday and asked if she could do something special for our Step/Breakfast Ministry guests. Her idea was to prepare a very special breakfast for them, one that they probably had not had the opportunity to experience in a very long time. We worked together to put all the necessary pieces together—the date, menu, number of helpers needed, and so on. On a recent Saturday morning, our Step guests were treated to a wonderful breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon, pancakes, potatoes, fruit salad, orange juice, and coffee. They were delighted and grateful beyond words.

There was a very special dessert served after breakfast that morning. It was birthday cake. You see, Barcelona was celebrating her 12th birthday on that very day! She had planned it that way. This very special breakfast was prepared and served to our Step Guests as her "birthday gift" to them. In the weeks leading up to her birthday, Barcelona had collected cans and bottles to raise money to pay for the food. She sent out letters of request and then collected monetary donations. She collected toiletries and put together packages for the guests to take with them.

Barcelona attends a Special Education class, and her teacher was there, along with Barcelona's mother, to help prepare and serve the food. With them was a football coach from Sacramento City College along with two Sac City football team members. They are but a small part of the much larger number of "extended family" members that Barcelona has acquired in her short time on this earth. She is remarkable, not only in her generosity, but also in her gentle spirit and loving heart. She serves as an inspiration to all of us—of how, in our own way, we, too, can make a difference by being generous, loving and kind. Her "birthday gift" to our guests serves as a reminder of how we are called simply to be present to each other.

—Peace and blessings, Galen

A Blessing for Our Guests

The eight-grade class at Sacred Heart elementary had been studying the Seven Pillars of Catholic Social Teaching throughout the past school year. They were challenged by their teacher, Paul Saunderman, to create and execute a service project that addressed one of the social justice issues they had been discussing. Working in groups of three to design a project, they presented their ideas for consideration. The project selected was "Operation Care Package", and was designed to benefit our Step guests, as well as guests at Loaves & Fishes.

The students planned care packages to be made up of items that could be used by our brothers and sisters who are homeless. To raise the money necessary to make their purchases, they organized, publicized, and put on a bake sale during a school day at Sacred Heart. They sold cupcakes, cakes, brownies and beverages to students and parents. In total, they raised over $550! The three students who designed the project took a field trip to Target and purchased the items they felt would be most needed: eco-friendly water bottles, a wide assortment of toiletries and personal items, decks of playing cards, combs, and a variety of snacks. The items were placed in reusable cloth bags with strap handles, which recipients could continue using to carry personal items. Inside each bag the students placed a note that offered a prayer and a blessing for the person's well being. In total, they were able to put together 40 care packages.

The care packages were delivered both to St. Francis, for our Step guests, and to Loaves & Fishes. The leadership and compassion displayed by these eighth-grade students can serve as a reminder for each of us that we are one family, and that we are called to love and care for each other as brothers and as sisters in Christ.

—Peace and blessings, Galen

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