The Family Center and Food Pantry is the heart of St. Joseph Center's efforts to help working poor families achieve and maintain stability as they make their way toward lasting self-sufficiency. As the Center's original program, the Family Center continues to serve a great number of people's basic needs. But as new needs have arisen in the community, new services have been added. Sometimes these services remain within the Family Center, and sometimes they become distinct programs.

By helping to keep families healthy and whole, we aim to give them the best possible chance for long-term success. We achieve these goals by first addressing survival needs (such as hunger, health, and housing) and then concentrating on some of the more complex issues that every family faces.

Food Pantry
Food Forward LogoFamilies and individuals sign up to receive supplemental groceries up to once a week. Bags consist of staples and an assortment of other foods that help low income people stretch their food budgets. Bags usually contain fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables as well. Perishable foods such as eggs and cheese donated by local markets fill out the bags when available.

St. Joseph Center's Food Pantry is proud to be a partner of Food Forward. Thanks to Food Forward's food recovery efforts, we receive hundreds of pounds of produce each week that we in turn distribute to our clients.

Family Wellness Classes
These classes emphasize healthy cooking at home using fresh ingredients and cover such topics as reading nutrition labels and healthy alternatives in food preparation. Classes can include children as young as 5 years old (accompanied by their parents), and in all cases childcare is provided during each class. A nutritious meal that the whole family eats together concludes each class.

Parties and Events
Family Center staff organize parties and special events that provide free opportunities for families to relax and enjoy each other's company away from the stresses of home or work.

Every holiday season St. Joseph Center coordinates a large effort to align the generosity of our donors with the needs of the families we serve. By "adopting" a family, individuals ensure that parents receive a little extra help and that children have gifts to open.

Volunteer Opportunities
Family Center offers volunteers a wide variety of ways to help. In the Food Pantry, volunteers help sort food donations and put together grocery bags. Responsible adults are always needed to serve as Mentors. During the holidays, volunteers help with sorting and distribution of a large quantity of donated items.

St. Joseph Center Featured on The Biggest Loser

The Biggest Loser's "Pound for Pound Challenge" visited St. Joseph Center to speak with Feeding American spokesperson (and St. Joseph Food Pantry volunteer) David Arquette. This clip was broadcast on NBC during the March 3, 2009 episode of The Biggest Loser.