St. Francis House of Bread
“House of Bread is a beacon of hope,” says Marie Lederer, coordinator of the House of Bread food pantry.
Hunger is here, but the House of Bread is part of the solution. The St. Joseph agency got its start back in 1980 and just recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. The idea for the pantry came when one of the deacons received a phone call from a community member. The caller indicated she was hungry and didn’t know where to get food, so the deacon brought food to her home. After delivering the food, the deacon realized how extreme poverty was in the St. Joseph community. Because of this, the deacon started the House of Bread at St. Francis Xavier Parish.
The House of Bread pantry was originally located in the St. Francis Xavier Parish rectory. In 1988, the pantry was relocated to the parish basement. At that time they only had one fridge and one freezer. After 19 years of being in the parish basement, the House of Bread was asked to be relocated to its current location at Xavier House. In the beginning, the pantry was only serving six to eight families. Now they are serving 300 families; some of those families have eight to ten family members.
The pantry mainly runs with the help of 75 dedicated volunteers. These folks do everything from stocking the shelves to assisting clients. Lederer gives a lot of credit to the volunteers. “They are really good and know their schedules.” she says.
It is clear that Lederer is very proud of her pantry. She has hopes the land across the street will one day be the location of a new pantry to help nourish even more of her neighbors. The pantry is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. It is located at 1011 South 27th Street.