Breaking Ground On St. Anthony’s New Dining Room & Mercy Housing Senior Center

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SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 14, 2013 — After 62 years and nearly 39 million meals, St. Anthony’s Dining Room will break ground on a new building in San Francisco on January 24th at 3pm. Mayor Lee, city supervisors, and a host of civic and community leaders will gather at the construction site to commemorate this historic occasion for San Francisco.

In anticipation of a large attendance, the 100 block of Golden Gate Avenue will be closed. Organizers of the event expect a number of local celebrities to attend. Invitations have gone out to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco Giants Pitcher and longtime St. Anthony’s supporter Barry Zito, Giants mascot Lou Seal, and religious leaders in the community.

The ceremony will feature an interfaith blessing of the construction site, and performances by the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and a cast member from Beach Blanket Babylon.

St. Anthony’s is partnering with Mercy Housing California to build a new facility that will meet the complex needs of a growing number of residents in need. The new ten-story building will make this intersection in the heart of the city even more responsive than it is today. It will house a free Dining Room that is 43% larger, the largest free clothing program in San Francisco, a social work center designed to help people move out of poverty, 90 units of affordable housing for low-income senior citizens, and the infrastructure to serve as a relief center in the event of a human or natural disaster.

To date, St. Anthony’s has raised 90% of the funds for this project. Interim Executive Director Barry Stenger expressed confidence that big and small donors in the community will respond to the challenge posed at the groundbreaking to join St. Anthony’s in raising the final $2.5 million dollars by June of 2013. Nibbi Brothers General Contractors, the Low Income Investment Fund, Bank of America, and the Hilton Union Square all generously donated to sponsor the groundbreaking event.

St. Anthony’s Dining Room embodies the generous spirit of San Francisco by connecting San Francisco’s world-renowned generosity with the needs of its poorest residents.

St. Anthony’s opened their doors for the first time on October 4th, 1950 in a former auto repair shop built in 1912. Expecting to serve 150 meals that day, volunteers and community leaders scrambled to feed 400 people in need of a warm meal and a safe place to turn. Since then, St. Anthony’s Dining Room has been known as The Miracle on Jones Street for their miraculous ability to provide enough food for everyone, no matter how many people line up.

Today, almost 12,000 families and individuals in San Francisco live without kitchen facilities and an additional 15,000 people attempt to find refuge in shelters, vehicles, and on the streets. The breadth of services offered at St. Anthony’s new facility will help move people beyond chronic homelessness by offering basic services and opportunities to build a more stable life.

Together, St. Anthony’s and Mercy Housing California play a critical role in shaping the future of the social service landscape in the rapidly changing Mid-Market neighborhood. While many aspects of life in San Francisco remain in constant flux, St. Anthony’s and Mercy Housing California are building a future on the fundamental belief that when people work together, a better world is always possible.

St. Anthony’s is San Francisco’s Dining Room. On January 24, 2013, the city will come together again to rebuild The Miracle on Jones Street, renewing a pledge to restore health, hope, and human dignity for the next 100 years.

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