St. Francis Xavier Center is the home of St. John’s Food for the Poor Program. For many years, the people of St. John’s Church have been serving needy families in Worcester through the St. John’s Food for the Poor Program. This new facility replaces the one-stove soup kitchen which was located in the church basement.
The dedication and ribbon-cutting celebration on May 31, 2013 was the culmination of two-and-a- half years of fundraising efforts to accumulate $1.5 million for the reconstruction. The funds were raised primarily through two star-studded Celebrity Galas held at The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, in addition to generous community donations in the true spirit of neighbors helping neighbors.
The 5,500 square-foot building, located adjacent to St. John’s Church, was designed by Lamoureux Pagano Associates Architects. It features a state-of-the-art kitchen with the capability to serve over 700 hot, nutritious meals per day. A spacious food pantry provides 10,400 food boxes per year.
On May 4, 2016 we cut the ribbon at the new food and storage area. The extension was funded with the help of a $100,000 grant from the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts. It houses:
- Walk-in refrigerator
- Walk-in freezer
- More storage area
- Additional space for food preparationManager Bill Riley praised the new space:
“With the expanded storage space we are able to store large quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables in the new refrigerator and freezer. Our kitchen is the first in the area to serve fresh cut fruit and vegetables. Instead of serving guests six donuts, we encourage them to substitute fresh fruit. Many have dropped the donuts and, instead, choose the fresh nutritious fruit.”