St. Anthony's and SHC: A Tradition of Service

Service is a strong Lasallian/Vincentian value, and, for Sacred Heart Cathedral students, its integration into day-to-day life provides opportunities for growth, community building and understanding of their capacity for contribution–be this between the walls of high school or onwards into the world. SHC’s partnership with the St. Anthony Foundation is an important part of this experience.

During the second quarter of the academic year, all members of the sophomore class walk down to Golden Gate Avenue with their English classes to visit the St. Anthony Foundation. Students learn about the needs of our extended community from the Franciscan Brothers who serve there. They volunteer in many areas of the organization, preparing and serving food to guests in the dining room, working in the Free Clothing Program and interacting with each other and the people who benefit from these services.

Read about all the service-learning opportunities for SHC students.

Students can attend mass in the beautiful St Boniface Church, which connects to our sister school, De Marillac Academy. Students also interact and ask questions of the friars who work extensively with the Father Alfred Center, a residential recovery program supporting under-resourced men who have struggled with addiction to change the course of their lives. Often, sophomores can hear directly from one of these men and ask questions about the realities of addiction and rehabilitation.

Because these acts of service are organized through their English classes, this experience gives student an entryway to understanding and an opportunity to discuss and reflect. Here are some examples of student reflections from this year’s time at St, Anthony’s:

“Being able to give back to the community and witness those in need receiving the assistance they require made me feel wonderful. It truly helped me understand why homeless individuals become homeless in the first place and hear about others who turned their lives around. Additionally, I appreciate that we referred to them (in the dining room) as guests rather than homeless individuals. Injustice is exacerbated by social and economic problems that many communities endure. Giving back might take the form of endorsing programs that deal with these issues, like those that offer financial aid, job training or education. It gives people the power to get over structural obstacles and contributes to the creation of a more just society.”

- Tyja Starks ’26

“My St. Anthony’s experiences were super exciting and interesting. One thing I found interesting while talking with the volunteers who work there was how much of a community they are. St. Anthony’s is a safe haven for some people, and people from all over come to San Francisco. I learned that a lot of the people who are at St. Anthony's are immigrants. I think that St. Anthony does serve justice to those who are unhoused.”

- Sebastian Bradshaw ’26

“At Saint Anthony’s, I experienced a lot of people behind the scenes folding clothes or making the food. I also experienced the hard work they put into helping people in need. I think the most useful thing is that you always have people there for you. (Knowing) that I can always help people is one of the things I have learned.”

- Miles Contreras ’26

“I was very pleased with St Anthony’s for a few reasons. I liked how I got to talk with

people I normally wouldn’t interact with, and how I got to team up with my friends to serve these people. I liked serving the community and it made me feel complete. We all cooperated in a way where we were efficient and helpful to the community, which makes me happy. The thing I enjoyed the most was talking to the staff and the people in the community. They all seemed very happy and excited to be talking to me, which was very touching… I was surprised when I found out the meals were free, as inflation has not been very kind and has contributed to making many people go broke. I even saw a man happily eating many free meals at a table, which just brought a smile to my face.”

- Sasuke Kwan ‘26

    "I felt fulfilled after (my St. Anthony’s) experience. One interaction I had was during lunch with a man who sat across from me. He told me that he had been going to St. Anthony’s for two weeks, but his experience and the facilities he was able to use were very helpful to him. There were a variety of different responses I got to questions I asked, and there were people who were so polite and kind when receiving food. Even if people looked like they were having a bad day, they still managed to be kind, at least with the interaction that I had with them. I think that the experience has given me a new outlook on life. I feel like I can forget to be grateful for what I have, like the meals I am able to afford, but coming out of St.Anthony’s reminded me to be grateful for everything that I have that others don’t."

    "I feel like St. Anthony’s brings justice to a lot of people who are less fortunate… because they provide these resources that are needed in human life, for free, to people in need."

    - Bradley Han ’26

    Sophomore Boys on the Serving Line Sophomore Girls Volunteering in the Dining Room Sophomore boys roll silverware

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