While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our community, one of the realities that hasn’t changed is the fact that many people don’t have the resources to feed themselves or their families.
Fortunately the Saint Francis of Assisi Kitchen in Scranton remains able to alleviate this need. Since 1978, the Kitchen has been serving a free, hot, nutritious meal to approximately 250 men, women and children each day. In addition to the traditional daily midday meal, the Kitchen has also provided an evening meal on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5‑6 p.m.
In recent years the Mid-Valley Outreach Program was launched in conjunction with several parishes to offer weekly meals in Carbondale, Archbald and Olyphant. The Kitchen also operates the Saint Francis Client-Choice Food Pantry and the Saint Francis Free Clothing Store.
The Kitchen has been able to do all of this via the dedicated service of staff and volunteers, and with financial support from the community – primarily through the annual Host‑for‑a‑Day campaign. The 2021 campaign is now underway.
The Host‑for‑a‑Day campaign seeks contributions of $100 or more. This helps the Kitchen provide the daily meal.
In effect, each contributor becomes a “host” for a day. Contributors may then select a date on which they, or someone they designate, will be recognized as the provider for that meal.
During the pandemic, the Kitchen has modified its program by providing the daily midday meal in Scranton in take-out containers. The evening meals were suspended for a time but resumed at the end of July, also as take-outs. The Mid-Valley Outreach Program also had to be suspended, but meals in Carbondale resumed in December. The food pantry and clothing store are open, with safety precautions in place.
“Naturally this has been a challenging time and we have made changes to ensure the safety of our guests, staff and volunteers,” said Rob Williams, the Kitchen’s executive director. “Throughout this period, however, we have provided a meal in some fashion every single day. We are truly blessed!”
Michele Bannon, a member of the Kitchen’s Advisory Board, is chairing the campaign and leading the effort with her fellow board members.
“The community has always supported this campaign in a wonderful way,” she said. “This year the need is greater than ever, and we are hopeful that our supporters will again join with us to sustain the mission of the Kitchen.”
This year’s Host‑for‑a‑Day campaign is being conducted with safety precautions in place. Traditionally the members of the Kitchen’s Advisory Board contact supporters they have sold tickets to over the years. This year the majority of the past contributors to the campaign are receiving an appeal directly from the Kitchen through the mail.
Also, out of concern for the health and safety of benefactors and board members, the typical Appreciation Reception that concludes the campaign will not be held in a gathered way. Instead, the culmination of the campaign will be marked with a Virtual Celebration consisting of a pre-recorded program. The release date will be Wednesday, April 28, at 6 p.m. Information on how to view the program will be announced as details are finalized.
Anyone who does not receive an appeal through the mail can make a Host‑for‑a‑Day gift by calling the Kitchen at 570-342‑5556, or sending a check to Saint Francis of Assisi Kitchen, 500 Penn Avenue, Scranton PA 18509. Donations can also be made online at: www.stfranciskitchen.org or facebook.com/stfranciskitchen
Those who would like to sponsor the Virtual Reception are asked to call the Kitchen at 570-342‑5556.