September 18, 2012
OF SERVICE TO THE HOMELESS IN PHILADELPHIA
This Agency of Catholic Social Services Has Served More than 6 Million Men
Saint John's Hospice is marking its 50th year of service to Philadelphia's male homeless population. It is a center grounded in faith and service, where homeless persons find dignity, respect, nourishment and opportunities for new beginnings.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM, Cap. said, "Saint John's Hospice is a blessing to all of us in Philadelphia. As a Church, we are blessed that Saint John's has helped us all keep our eyes on the simple but easily forgotten imperative to serve the needy among us. I extend to the entire Saint John's Hospice family my blessing and best wishes as they begin their 50th anniversary celebration."
The yearlong celebration kicked off with a fundraising gala on Saturday, September 8, 2012 at Galdo's Catering in South Philadelphia. Bishop Timothy C. Senior, along with other distinguished guests, staff and friends attended. All proceeds generated from the evening went to support Saint John's Hospice.
Founded in September of 1963, Saint John's offers a daily lunch program currently serving an average of 350 men each day. In addition to offering showers, clothing and personal hygiene articles, Saint John's offers a mail program for the homeless men, which allows them to register Saint John's Hospice as an address so they can receive mail regularly. Currently more than 900 men participate in this program.
The facility, which is staffed by 35 full and part-time employees, includes a 52-bed shelter for homeless men, including 12 beds specifically for those men in need of medical attention. St. John's Hospice also hosts 25 chronically homeless men who typically avoid shelter to come into the safety of Saint John's "yard" for the night. The men are provided beverages, snacks, restrooms and most importantly the opportunity to interact positively with a Saint John's staff member. Major funding for the services provided at comes from private donations. The parishes of the Archdiocese are the main source of donated food. Parishioners prepare casseroles, which are heated and served each day. Saint John's is also largely dependent on donated food and hygiene items as well as the time of volunteers.
"Saint John's Hospice is one of the most comprehensive operations to assist the homeless population in the City of Philadelphia," says Kevin Barr, Program Director. "In all these services, we go beyond meeting basic and physical needs. We strive to provide the dignity and respect that offers each of our guests the strength to break out of homelessness-the ultimate goal for all of the men who use our services."
St. John's Hospice offers the men the option to take advantage of counseling services, which can help them actively address the issues they face as individuals through weekly individual and group meetings with their case manager. The hospice's staff also coordinates monitored attendance in substance abuse and mental health treatment, and referral to education, employment and other needed resources and services.
Our ministry is one of openness, acceptance and transition," said Gerry Huot, Community Relations Director. Our service is an integral part of who we are as a Church. We are blessed to enable so many in our community and to have donors and partners to help those in need. This has been our legacy for 50 years and I hope the next 50 bring this same steadfast commitment to the needy and homeless among us."
Editor's Note: For more information on Saint John's Hospice visit http://www.saintjohnshospice.org.