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St. Francis House – did you know?

by Mar 9, 2021Parish Blog, Weekly-Email

The generous man is blessed. For he gives of his bread to the poor.”- Proverbs 22:9

St. Francis House is an outreach ministry of the parish located in a townhouse in the Williamstown neighborhood that was established in 1992 to serve the many needs of the low-income, disadvantaged families in the Eastern Prince William County. The ministry is staffed by Francia Salguero and her daughter Angelica Silva. Angelica, now a graduate of George Mason University has been volunteering and working at the House since her sophomore year in high school.

Did you know how important parishioner support is for this ministry? Francia and Angelica form the “front line” of this ministry, but parishioner support is vital, not only for your generous food contributions, but for volunteering in the “warehousing and logistic” efforts of getting your donations to St. Francis House. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to each week serve 100-110 families.

Parishioners bring their generous donations of non-perishable food items to the narthex of the church (a fancy name for the lobby). Volunteers sort and organize the donations for pickup; other volunteers transport the donations to the House; Francis and Angelica sort, stock, assemble and package food for distribution; and deliver food items to a limited number of senior citizens who no longer are able to easily come to the House and carry the food home.  Thank you for all your support!

Did you know that there are food donations that supplement what the parish supplies? We supply non-perishable items and those are supplemented by the Prince William Food Bank with additional canned items, cereal, and more. What about perishable items such as meat/chicken, cheese, milk, fruits and veggies? Our partner, the Prince William Food Bank, also supplies those items.

Did you know that St. Francis House offers more than just food? Just as our local grocery store offers more than just food items, St. Francis House offers items such as dish soap, laundry soap, diapers and wipes – for children and seniors, and other “items of the month.”

Do you know why the number 73 is important? When we go to the grocery store, we are likely to measure the items we have purchased in terms of the money just spent or how full the cart is. Did you ever think about the weight of what’s in the cart and what you will have to transport? At St. Francis House, each family receives a box of perishable items (30 lbs.), a box of non-perishable items (25 lbs.) and a bag of parish-donated items (18 lbs.) – and yes, that it 73 lbs. of food. St. Francis House’s experience is that the average cost of all grocery items supplied is approximately $2/lb – about $150 of groceries for those 73 pounds.  That sounds like a lot. The US Department of Agriculture reports that the weekly cost of groceries for a family of four is $260/week (January 2021 data).  The number “73” is a start but not all that is needed.

Did you know that St. Francis House does more than collect and distribute food? Although limited by pandemic restrictions, the full range of services include:

  • Assistance with utility disconnect notices (electric, gas, oil, propane, water and sewer)
  • Rental assistance
  • Emergency prescription assistance for uninsured individuals
  • Transportation assistance (i.e., assistance with gas, bus tokens…)
  • Job search assistance (i.e., help for transportation, interview clothes…)
  • Funeral assistance
  • Community referral/resources
  • Summer youth programs
  • Adult ESL/preschool program
  • School supplies donations
  • Christmas gifts for local children

Did you know that there are lots of opportunities for anyone who is willing to serve? To learn more ways to volunteer please call Francia Salguero at 703-221-6344 or [email protected] or visit the parish website for St. Francis House.