Hunger is a daily challenge for the homeless and needy in Santa Cruz.
St. Francis Catholic Kitchen operates two programs to care for and uplift the dignity of those in need. One facility contains the soup kitchen program; a second facility is home to the transitional shelter program.
To feed the hungry and clothe the naked, St. Francis Catholic Kitchen was founded as a non-profit charity by the late Fr. Peter Carota in 1982. The soup kitchen is a well-known haven of peace to those needing help with meeting basic human needs. The current director of the soup kitchen program is Mr. Richard Crowe, now in his 15th year at St. Francis Catholic Kitchen.
More than 35,000 hot lunches are served every year at St. Francis Catholic Kitchen.
Open each weekday noon throughout the year, St. Francis soup kitchen welcomes anyone in need to a hearty, nutritious lunch, a hot shower and a selection of basics, such as toiletries, clean used clothing or new socks. Services offered at the soup kitchen are free.
In 1989, the St. Francis board of directors created Jesus Mary Joseph Home, a transitional shelter for loving and caring for some of the most vulnerable in our community. JMJ is the soup kitchen's beloved sister program. Admission is based on need, application and personal interview. Over the years, hundreds of lives have been saved through the guidance and support of JMJ's residential program.
JMJ's main focus is on providing transitional shelter and fresh opportunities for homeless women with children hoping to rebuild their lives. Occasionally, JMJ staff is called upon to give personal care to those who are both poor and terminally ill. The current director of the transitional shelter program is Ms. Pat Gorman, now in her 20th year at Jesus Mary Joseph Home.
The majority of St. Francis/JMJ funding comes from individual donors in the community.