Thousands fed by St. Anthony’s on Memorial Day

St. Anthony’s Foundation in San Francisco opened its doors Monday to thousands of people, including veterans, seeking a free warm meal.

The Memorial Day holiday event is usually the busiest for the foundation, which planned to serve 4,000 meals, according to an organization official.

Because most other community organizations are closed for Memorial Day, St. Anthony’s normally attracts more people than usual, with one in five guests being veterans, according to communications associate Jessie Brierley:

“We don’t receive government funding, so on a holiday like today, when others are closed, we’re able to stay open and serve our guests.”

St. Anthony’s Foundation recently moved its dinning room to a new facility located on 121 Golden Gate Ave. in October. The new dinning room can now fit twice as many as the older one.

In addition to providing meals, the organization also provides a free clothing program, a social work center, a medical clinic and tech lab.

The organization relies heavily on volunteers who give their free time to assist the organization in helping those less fortunate.

Chuck Corder, a San Francisco resident who’s been volunteering since 1998, said he’s drawn to the organization because the staff provides a well-grounded environment that makes him feel like he’s making a difference:

“That’s one of the nice things, as a volunteer you feel like your contributing and not wasting time. … When you’re there, they’re so organized, you really feel like your being fully utilized.”

Brierley said she hoped today’s event would remind people that there are still many veterans who, despite their sacrifices, remain underserved:

“Always remember, of course people that passed away, but also people that are still alive and struggling. We honor them as well because they did ultimately give up a lot for us and our freedoms.”