In the Community (What We Do)
Parish Outreach Programs
The Winter Shelter Program functions from November through February. It is sponsored by the San Francisco Interfaith Council in collaboration with the Department of Human Services and the Episcopal Community Services to provide shelter and an evening meal for homeless men. The shelter and dinners rotate to different churches and various faith communities volunteer to prepare and serve the dinners. The Episcopal Community Services manages the program and the Inter-faith Council prepares the calendar of participants.
St. Teresa of Avila parish has participated for a number of years, not as a shelter site, but as a community that prepares and serves meals for two or three evenings.
Some of the Small Christian Communities have volunteered to sponsor an evening as has the St. Vincent de Paul Society. All parishioners are offered an opportunity to share in this outreach by signing up after the weekend Masses. Usually, a staff member has been involved in coordinating the parish efforts.
On the First Sunday of Advent parishioners are invited to take the name(s) of a child/children from the paper ornaments on a tree in the entrance to the church. The persons who choose to participate are asked to bring a gift for that child or children and place the gift under the tree by a certain date. The ornaments are prepared by parishioners and our parish deacon makes sure that the tree is available in the church.
This program serves the children of immigrant families and others who are poor. The program is coordinated by volunteer parishioners. A member of the parish staff works with the coordinators and assists as needed.
All parishioners are invited to become involved in the Giving Tree Program. The usual number of children served is approximately 100. Don’t miss the chance to help make it happen!
Once a year, usually in the winter, one of the Small Christian Communities offers the parishioners an opportunity to bring pairs of new socks to be distributed to the poor and homeless. (Warm, dry socks are a treasure during the rainy season.) A clothes basket is placed in the vestibule of the church and a notice is posted that the sock collection is on.
The socks are brought to Sister Katie O’Shea who works with the San Francisco Council of St. Vincent de Paul. Sister Katie makes sure that the socks are handed out to those in need. Many stores now carry bundled socks at a reasonable price and our parishioners are very generous in their response.
Each year during the season of Lent, the San Francisco Food Bank asks faith communities to collect non-perishable canned and dried foods. St. Teresa parish has participated for a number of years even though it is similar to the canned food drive sponsored by the St. Vincent de Paul Society at another time. In 2009 the parishioners of St. Teresa contributed over 1000 lbs of food to this drive. We thank God for the generosity of our parishioners!