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 Families 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.
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
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.