Building the St. Anthony Center
FR. FRANK JASPER, OFM
Tuesday the Friars hosted a gathering at St. Francis Seraph for all the entities joining together in the new St. Anthony Center, the portion of the Franciscan Media building that is not currently being used. It was an opportunity for the boards, staff, volunteers and supporters of these ministries to meet one another and get to know one another more fully.
Watch the video below, "Amazing things are happening in Over-the-Rhine," by Franciscan Media.
Six non-profits are coming together in this collaborative venture. St. Francis Seraph Ministries is heading the project. The space will provide a new dining area and kitchen to serve the Mother Teresa Dining Room (former Soup Kitchen). It will also house the Sarah Center, which trains women in sewing and jewelry making and running a business.
The other ministries are: 1) Center for Respite Care, providing care for homeless people who are released from the hospital; 2) Franciscan Ministries/Haircuts from the Heart, providing hair care for inner city folks at a deep discount; 3) Mary Magdalen House, providing shower and laundry service for the homeless; 4) Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank, providing diapers for infants below the poverty level; 5) TriHealth Outreach Ministries, providing home nursing services for low-income people in the neighborhood.
They set up a style of collaboration and decision-making that respects each organization’s independence while sharing critical services with one another. For example, Mother Teresa Dining Room will supply food service for Respite Care and Haircuts from the Heart will keep the residents neat and glamorous.
Overall, this collaborative venture will allow the Franciscans to have a lasting impact on the Over-the-Rhine community. The building which is currently underutilized will be devoted to care of the poor, hungry and homeless who continue to increase in the area, in spite of the gentrification that is happening all around.
The enthusiasm of the event was contagious. Since we finally passed the final Historical Board approval, everyone is eager for the construction to begin. I’m sure there will be many headaches along the way, but we are moving forward and the excitement is palpable. Hopefully, with the guidance of St. Anthony we will be able to continue this wonderful, new and innovative service to the poor.