Catholics Provide Meals to Those in Need During Coronavirus Outbreaks

Tags: Currents, Catholic Church, Catholic Community, Catholic New Yorkers, Coronavirus, Crux, Faith

By Tim Harfmann 

The Breadline at Saint Francis of Assisi Church has been open every day for the past 90 years.

Volunteers are used to giving out 250 meals a day, but because of the coronavirus and other places forced to shut down the meal count is up to 300.

“The line has changed,” said Adam Cross, coordinator of the St. Francis Breadline. “Usually the same people every day, you get to know these people. It’s changed. People I’ve never seen, people that look like they’re from different situations.”

Some may have just lost their jobs. Others are homeless.

Regardless, volunteers were hard at work, helping those in need.

“I’d rather not see them suffer,” explained Gavin, one volunteer. 

Prepackaged to-go meals were distributed first thing Monday morning as a way to keep the line moving and avoid a large crowd from gathering outside the Manhattan church. 

Volunteers even eliminated their separate line for coffee in order to practice social distancing.   

Despite the new guidelines, Richard Holland said he’s grateful for the food.

The 58-year-old is homeless and received juice, oatmeal, two sandwiches and a piece of cake. 

“It makes me feel that these people are using more faith than fear,” he said.

He said what’s not a piece of cake is finding other resources for the homeless.

Places are forced to close as a precaution. 

“It’s not as if they’re turning them away,” said Richard. “In their eyes, they’re protecting the parish or the organization.”

Adam said they’re open because the Breadline is a lifeline.

“They’re like our brothers and sisters, they really are. The way we treat them, the way we care for them,” he said 

Volunteers say though there’s a lot of uncertainty at the moment, they’re determined to stay open as long as possible to help those in need.