TIMES HAVE CHANGE... FACES CHANGE...BUT OUR COMMITMENT REMAINS CONSTANT.
Unfortunately, these challenges are not simply a sign of our own times. To meet them, at the opening days of the Great Depression, in 1930, one of our own Franciscan Friars, Brother Gabriel Mehler, OFM, found a way to help the hundreds of hungry and homeless in New York City. He rescued them by opening the daily Breadline at the steps of St. Francis of Assisi.
Ever since the 1930’s, the followers of St. Francis at 135 West 31st Street have kept this tradition alive. Thanks to the support of generous gifts from ordinary folks just like you, our Breadline assures everyone who comes that they may start their day with a meal and a kind word from a Friar for as long as it takes to ward off hunger and uncertain times ahead.
Every morning, promptly at 7 o’clock, Friars and generous volunteers head to the sidewalk in front of the church to greet them. There are always lines of the hungry, patiently waiting to be fed. Often, as many as 350 men and women, eagerly receive sandwiches, coffee and other treats. Within a few minutes, the long lines shuffle away. They disappear into the crowds of commuters rushing past. We wonder where these homeless go, but we realize they will return - tomorrow and other tomorrows. The Franciscan Friars will be waiting for them every morning, rain or shine.
Our daily Breadline assures us that the message preached by St. Francis of Assisi more than 800 years ago is still relevant in our own times. Our Friars serve in the spirit of Jesus, who taught us to feed the hungry, to catch those in danger of falling through the cracks in our society. Yes, we live in a society that all too often looks down on those who can’t escape their poverty.
The St. Francis Breadline is needed today more than ever. This is where YOU CAN HELP US TO MEET THAT CHALLENGE. Our Breadline continues to face today’s economic distress. The Franciscans have not been spared the effects. The cost to feed one person a day is ten dollars, or $70 a week with food and other expenses.
Whatever you can give to ease the suffering of these brothers and sisters of ours who depend on us is not taken for granted. The Franciscan Friars deeply appreciate your generosity, and remember you in their daily Masses and prayers
—The Franciscan Friars of St. Francis