Food Security Ministries
27,000 people face food insecurity in Hartford, CT.
The lack of supermarkets in Hartford makes it even harder for families, the working poor, and the homeless to buy healthy food.
The Franciscan Center works to alleviate this problem.
Join us in our ministry to serve the homeless and economically disadvantaged in Hartford.
Since the early 1990’s, the Sandwich Ministry has helped alleviate hunger for the homeless, unemployed, and the working poor in Hartford by handing out sandwiches, water, and fresh baked goods from our door every day from 4:00 – 5:30 pm. 50 teams of volunteers are involved in the daily preparation and distribution of sandwiches to an average of fifty people of all races and faiths every day of the year. Many of our volunteers serve as families.
The Ministry also provides rental assistance, bus fare, hand-warmers, socks, gloves, hats, personal care items, hospitality, dignity and so much more.
You can get involved in the Sandwich Ministry by signing up to make sandwiches, to distribute them, or you can donate money to help defray the costs. The Sandwich Ministry schedules tend to fill up. Please sign up, even if it’s for a date several weeks from now and then keep scrolling down this page for ways you can help now.
The Sandwich Maker Schedule typically fills several months in advance, but please reserve your spot now!
Provide a sandwich to a hungry neighbor knowing this might be their only meal for the day. Sandwich makers make ham and cheese, turkey and cheese, and peanut butter and jelly on bread donated by members of the Women of Hope Ministry. Sandwich making is an excellent activity for families as the needed skills are spreading, assembling, and bagging. All sandwich supplies are provided.
Contact the ministry coordinator, Carol Sue Schmidt, by filling out the form at the link below.
Handing out two sandwiches, a snack pack, or home-baked cookies, and a bottle of water to all who ask at our door is just the start of the impact made for those who stand on either side of our serving window. Servers come with an open heart and friendly spirit for the homeless, poor, and working poor who depend on the ministry for food.
Sandwich distributors get to know our guests who visit regularly and become familiar with the grave challenges they are facing.
Some volunteers say that this ministry is a form of prayer for them. To some, it is their response to a personal calling to serve the poor and displaced.
The servers also hand out hats, warmers, gloves, scarves, socks, underwear, and toiletries when people need them.
To learn more and sign up for the schedule, contact the ministry coordinator, Anne Condon, by filling out the form at the link below.
St. Francis Bakers
Do you love baking? Have fun baking at home and then drop off individually wrapped treats to share with those who come to our door for a sandwich. A homemade dessert is an extra special treat for those facing food and housing insecurity.
Click below to fill out the form to contact the ministry coordinator, Kim Nardone, to get on the schedule.
First Sunday of the month
Snack packs are baggies filled with an assortment of prepackaged snacks that are handed out with the sandwiches at our door each day.
If you want to plan a family service project at home, snack packs that you make or boxes of snacks can be dropped off any time the office is open.
Our Confirmation Students host Snack Pack drop-off event on the first Sunday of each month, where parishioners can drop off individually wrapped, non perishable snacks or juice boxes or water bottles. Religious education groups then create the Snack Packs by filling baggies with an assortment of these goodies and leaving them ready to pass out by the sandwich door.
Donate to support the Sandwich Ministry
Contribute to the Sandwich Ministry by donating to St. Anthony Bread for the Poor. Your donation will support the purchase of sandwich supplies and other personal care items that are frequently passed out at the door daily.
Warming Center Hot Meals
Sunday evenings in the winter months
During the winter months, many of our brothers and sisters facing homelessness seek shelter in downtown Warming Centers. We team together to prepare and provide delicious hot meals on Sunday nights.
Our high school volunteers participate in this ministry twice a month.
Click the button below to fill out the form to contact Kim Nardone, Ministry Coordinator, to learn more or be added to the schedule.
Helping Our Neighbors
Tuesday and Thursday evenings
During the pandemic, we began serving hot meals on Tuesday and Thursday evenings outside the Franciscan Center. Meals were purchased from two neighboring restaurants, one Mexican and one Middle Eastern, that were impacted by the pandemic.
Through our partnership with St. Joseph’s College, student nurses are available on these same evenings to check the blood pressure and sugar levels of our guests.
Putting fresh food in the hands of Hartford families
Hydroponics nourish families with nutritious food
A partnership with Levo International that began in 2021 brought hydroponic kits to families in Hartford to equip them to grow fresh food without the need for land or a garden. Families in Hartford struggle to get fresh, nutritious food due to the lack of grocery stores in locations easily accessible to them. Hydroponic gardens provided an easy and cost effective solution that produced fresh vegetables all summer.
Our partnership with Levo International continues in the summer of 2022 and 2023 with helping to support their CSA program. Join us each week to gather with parishioners of all ages and skill levels to plant seedlings.
The House of Bread provides urban ministry to the poor and economically disadvantaged in the Hartford area.
We have partnered with the House of Bread for over a quarter of a century by providing teams of volunteers to serve hot meals Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. In addition, we run food drives and provide financial support to keep their food pantry stocked.
Read below to choose the best way for you to get involved on our teams that serve with the House of Bread, and contact the ministry coordinators to find out when you can help.
Serve Meals at the House of Bread
Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays
The mission of the House of Bread Meal Teams Ministry is to feed the hungry and poor of Hartford by offering them not only food, but also compassion, understanding, and love.
Volunteer members work at The House of Bread Soup Kitchen on meal teams: they set up and clean up the dining room and kitchen; prepare and serve meals to clients; welcome them and converse with them; and by their respectful and friendly demeanor, provide a compassionate and listening ear.
Volunteers who are able to make a commitment (renewable annually) and collaborate as part of a team also require the personal qualities of patience, flexibility, and compassion to serve effectively in this ministry.
We currently have openings in our Saturday lunch meal team.
Thanks to the responsiveness and generosity of our parishioners, volunteer needs at the House of Bread have been filled. THANK YOU!
Monthly Sandwich Stock-up for the House of Bread
If you would prefer to volunteer from home, this is the perfect opportunity for you.
Volunteers in this ministry are asked to make 50 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and bring them to the House of Bread. It is a semi-annual commitment. There are two independent schedules (June-November and December-May). New volunteers will be added into the next rotation.
Ingredients to make all 50 sandwiches is about $10 from Aldi. An extra snack treat can be added with the sandwich delivery but is not required. Specific details on the process will be sent to all new volunteers.
Gather your friends and family for a sandwich making party!
Thank you so much to the generosity of our community of volunteers, all the slots are full at this time. Please take a look at all the other volunteer opportunities that we offer, and contact Allison, Director of Volunteer Ministry to get involved.
Source: CT Food Bank.
Gundersen, C., Strayer, M., Dewey, A., Hake, M., & Engelhard, E. (2021). Map the Meal Gap 2021: An Analysis of County and Congressional District Food Insecurity and County Food Cost in the United States in 2019. Feeding America.