They come for a hot, nutritious daily meal. Some return for a supper served three nights a week. All enjoy a friendly atmosphere and socialization with their fellow guests, and being treated with dignity and respect by staff and volunteers.
Many visit the Client-Choice Food Pantry and Free Clothing Store, getting what they need for themselves and their families.
Approximately 200 men, women and children of all ages benefit from these services provided by Saint Francis of Assisi Kitchen in Scranton each day. This includes those who are offered meals through the Mid Valley Outreach Program at parish locations and high-rise housing buildings in Carbondale and Olyphant.
Founded in 1978, the Kitchen has been able to do all of this due to the dedicated service of staff and volunteers, and with financial support from the community – primarily through the annual Host‑for‑a‑Day campaign. The 2022 campaign is now underway.
For a donation of $100 or more, an individual, family, business, community organization or faith-based group can help to sponsor the day’s meal. Recognized sponsorships begin at the $500 contribution level.
In effect, each contributor becomes a “host” for a day. Contributors may then select a date on which they, or someone they designate or memorialize, will be recognized as the provider for that meal.
Through its partnership with the Kitchen, lunch is provided each Wednesday at Holy Cross Parish in Olyphant, where Father Scott Sterowski serves as pastor. Frank Marek is among those who is grateful for this service.
While many are familiar with how the Kitchen provides these meals, they might not be aware of just how important the Client-Choice Food Pantry is.
According to Kitchen Executive Director Rob Williams, there has been a significant increase in the number of individuals and families who take advantage of the pantry in recent months – well over 1,000 individuals and 503 family servings in January alone. He noted that pantry offerings have expanded to include cleaning supplies and ensure fresh produce each day of operation.
Maria McCool, a member of the Kitchen’s Advisory Board, is chairing the Host-for-a-Day campaign and leading the effort with her fellow board members.
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.