Volunteer kitchen needs help to provide meals to homeless

Donations down despite increased workload

SAN ANTONIO – People with the kitchen run by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul say there is an urgent need as they provide meals for the homeless.

Serving three meals a day every day of the year out of Haven for Hope, the Society said cash is down, even after a restructuring.

That means they need volunteers, food, and donations.

Called St. Vinny's bistro, as many as 500 people come for breakfast, and just as soon as they are fed then it's on to lunch and then dinner.

"Normally, October is a very slow donation month for us naturally, and it just seems like the need is so great, it just doesn't slowdown," said Valerie Finley, executive director of the Society of St. Vincent De Paul San Antonio.

The kitchen said what money they do get is better spent elsewhere than supplies and staff. The staples come from restaurants, grocery stores, the food bank and everyday San Antonians.

St. Mary’s University student Miranda Trevino and two of her classmates volunteered Tuesday morning. She said they specifically chose St Vinny's Bistro, the name for the kitchen, which serves 1,100 meals a day.

"It makes you think really. I mean I'm very, very blessed to have come from, you know, my parents gave me so much," said Trevino.

They also employ some of the residents of Haven for Hope to get them back on their feet, and teach them life skills like having a work routine and arriving on-time.

Larry Lopez said he has been at Haven for two months after losing his job with the government. Working in the kitchen as a cook, he said he could be out and back in a home any day now.

“So this is just the first step of many good opportunities that they have here at Haven for Hope,” said Lopez.

Though it mostly serves Haven for Hope residents, the kitchen gets no money from Haven or the Archdiocese.

Everything the people running the kitchen spend, they raise.

"Oh, I bless these people every day,” said homeless veteran James Edward Nolan.

He said he’s stayed at Haven for Hope and eaten St. Vincent de Paul’s meals for almost a year now.

"I go to church every Sunday back there, on the member side, and anything I can do to help I do,” said Nolan.