70 YEARS. Inspired by Hope

70 Years. Inspired by Hope

In 1950, St. Anthony’s opened its doors and hearts to San Francisco. As we commemorate seven decades of service on behalf of our guests, volunteers, donors, and staff, we reaffirm our commitment to the community. St. Anthony’s is all of us, and for 70 years all of us have been inspired by hope. We invite you to explore our evolving story, and to become part of our next chapter.


St. Anthony's - 70 Years Inspired by Hope



Scroll through the years to read the stories and view the notable milestones of our history.


Dining Room Opens

The vision of St. Anthony’s founder, Fr. Alfred Boeddeker, of uniting vulnerable populations in the Tenderloin was realized on October 4, 1950. Expecting 150 guests, St. Anthony’s served 400 meals on that first day.


Addiction Recovery Program Begins

What would eventually become the Fr. Alfred Center Addiction Recovery Program began as an effort at St. Anthony’s farm in rural Petaluma: “A place where men, once homeless, could start life anew.”


Medical Clinic Opens

Fr. Alfred often noted that, “Many of the poor in the dining room need medical care.” So, in July 1956, the St. Anthony’s Medical Clinic officially opened. For more than 64 years, it has treated all “without restrictions, sickness and poverty constituting eligibility.”


6 Millionth Meal Served

The St. Anthony’s Dining Room passed 6 million meals served—prompting an official telegram from President John F. Kennedy in commemoration of the milestone.


Volunteer Program Launched

Volunteers are essential to deliver St. Anthony’s services. Every year, more than 12,000 people from all sectors of the community engage in direct service to those experiencing poverty and homelessness.


Free Clothing Program Opens

An urgent need for fresh, high-quality, free clothing led to the opening of our clothing program, which has since become a vital community service.


Tech Lab Opens

Our Tenderloin Tech Lab is still the Tenderloin district’s only free technology center specializing in bridging the digital divide and developing solutions for issues contributing to poverty.


Workforce Development Program Opens

While St. Anthony’s founder Fr. Alfred began an informal work program in the Dining Room in the 1950’s, St. Anthony’s formally launched its Workforce Development program in 2011 to provide vocational skills development, on-site job coaching, transitional employment opportunities, and ongoing career counseling. Workforce Development program has been revamped in 2020 to add aspects such as a 360° evaluation of one’s self and teaches participants to build on empathy and other foundations to create a sustainable long-term work-life program for continuing success.


New Dining Room Opens

After a major capital campaign, and with the generous participation of many donors, St. Anthony’s opens a new, larger Dining Room with a commercial-grade kitchen.


Winter Shelter Program Begins

The Winter Shelter was established as a response to the El Niño storms and was made permanent the next year to ensure that individuals and families have warm meals and a safe shelter during the winter months.


California Wildfire Shelter Provided

California’s 2018 wildfire season was the deadliest and most destructive ever recorded. Smoke blanketed San Francisco, and St. Anthony’s converted its Dining Room into a nightly emergency shelter to give refuge from poor air quality to the community experiencing homelessness.


Coronavirus Response Delivered

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shelter-in-place orders, the need for mobile services and meals increased 30% almost overnight. Guests were provided meals to-go and programs such as the Free Clothing Program and Tech Lab were adapted to continue to provide services to our guests.



Like the hope that sustains us, our work goes on. Week after week, without fail, St. Anthony’s serves more than 14,000 meals, provides clean clothing to 500 people, and supports individuals with addiction recovery services, access to tech, job training, and other essential resources. And we continue innovating to meet the needs of our continually-evolving community.

Counting on St. Anthony’s


Meals Served


People Clothed


Patients Treated


Tech Access Hours

St. Anthony’s Services in 2020

In San Francisco, one in five adults lacks the resources to provide food for themselves or their families. In the Tenderloin district, that number is as high as one in two. At our Dining Room, we help to offset this lack of basic sustenance by serving nearly one million meals every year. We accept anyone who comes through our doors to eat. More than one-third of our guests rely on these meals as their only source of food each day, and many must decide between paying their rent and purchasing medicine before budgeting for food.

St. Anthony’s Free Clothing Program is San Francisco’s largest free clothing program, providing warm clothes, interview apparel or workwear, and children’s clothing to more than 10,000 families and individuals experiencing poverty or homelessness each year. The Free Clothing Program accepts more than $3,000,000 in clothing donations from individuals and corporate partners per year, and distributes approximately 36,000 pieces of new and like-new clothing for free each year.

St. Anthony’s Medical Clinic provides primary and specialty care to nearly 2,500 patients through more than 11,000 visits a year. 70% of our patients live below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level ($26,200 for a family of four in 2020), and 20% are children. Our range of primary care, preventive and ancillary services address chronic disease and support all patients in building healthy lifestyles for themselves and their families.

The Fr. Alfred Center addiction recovery program is a year-long, abstinence-based, work-structured program that empowers men who have no income or resources with the tools to overcome addiction and the support to establish productive and healthy lives. The holistic treatment offered through St. Anthony’s multiple services allows for immediate assessment and thoughtful resolution of clients’ medical, legal, vocational and educational needs, most or all of which may have been profoundly affected by the cycles of poverty and addiction.

The Tenderloin Technology Lab is the Tenderloin’s only free technology center specializing in bridging the digital divide and developing technology solutions for issues of poverty. The Tech Lab offers free access to computers, printers, and WiFi, intensive computer classes, one-on-one tutoring, job search counseling and life skills courses, all designed specifically for the learning styles of adults struggling with poverty, addiction, mental health challenges or homelessness.

St. Anthony’s Workforce Development department serves the community by finding employment opportunities and career pathways. Informed by workplace well-being practices, our program offers participants an immersive and engaging training experience featuring a virtual classroom, vocational skills development, on-site job coaching, transitional employment opportunities, and ongoing career counseling that contributes to long-term positive outcomes.

Our Client Safety Services (CSS) team maintains safety in and around our programs, handing out meal tickets, giving directions, and sometimes literally saving lives in the event of violence, overdose, accident, or medical emergency. Our CSS team members are an alternative to traditional security services because they are trusted by the community, and knowledgeable about the neighborhood and trained in first aid, CPR, and emergency response. CSS demonstrates compassion, patience, and respect every day at St. Anthony’s.

St. Anthony’s Advocacy Program centers around four main issue areas: Housing/Homelessness; Health Care; Hunger; and Work & Income. We advocate for policies and programs that address the root causes of poverty, and that will better serve the needs of people experiencing homelessness and poverty in San Francisco, and therefore the needs of the city, state, nation and world as a whole. We enlist concerned citizens to voice their support through our online and grassroots advocacy network.

Open December through March, St. Anthony’s Winter Shelter provides warm meals and a safe shelter for individuals, families, and even their companion animals. Hundreds of homeless guests sleep warm and dry in our Winter Shelter during the winter months, when inclement weather and the adverse health consequences of homelessness are most intense. Staff from our Medical Clinic and Resource/Social Work Center frequent the shelter to engage guests in ongoing services.

The Resource Center/Social Work Center engages 1,750 individuals and families each year. We understand that many issues of homelessness and poverty are interrelated, and address each obstacle with this in mind through crisis intervention, housing services, case management, and referrals. Our staff are skilled professionals who use their intimate knowledge of the social services terrain to advocate for guests’ varying needs and connect them to our own services, and to other services available in the Tenderloin and beyond.



St. Anthony’s may be 70 years old, but we’re constantly looking forward. We understand that staying responsive to our guests, and open to change, can help us meet the needs of our dynamic community as those needs evolve. An organization that embraces the entrepreneurial spirit of Northern California—where bold, society changing ideas grow and flourish—St. Anthony’s sees a future filled with innovation, driven by data and, as always, inspired by hope.



To commemorate our 70th Anniversary, we’ve planned special public tributes, both local and virtual. Discover how you can participate in our anniversary, and also how you can share your experiences and best wishes on our social channels. Just remember to add the #InspiredByHope hashtag to be part of the commemoration of our 70 years.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION      press@stanthonysf.org

How you can help

St. Anthony’s has existed for 70 years solely through the generosity of our community, sharing the gift of generous volunteers and donors with those who need it the most. Now, more than ever, those acts of kindness on behalf of the guests we serve have a lasting, loving impact. Join us, won’t you?



A sincere thank you to all the guests, volunteers, donors, and staff of St. Anthony’s from our first day to today for 70 years of love and support.