BBQ for the Unhoused in San Francisco a Blessing for All

by Rosina Conrotto, PBVM

On beautiful, sunshine-filled Saturday, November 13, nine Presentation Sisters and one Presentation Associate gathered at Most Holy Redeemer Church to engage in the annual barbeque for men and women in San Francisco who are without shelter. Our sisters were joined by religious representing seven additional congregations. The event was inaugurated by the Council of Religious of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and Sister Rosina Conrotto, director of the Office for Consecrated Life, during the year dedicated to Consecrated Life and has taken place each year since then with a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic.

Guests were directed to the hall where they registered, received a $15 gift card and a wooden cross on a cord chain. They then enjoyed a lunch of barbequed hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, potato salad, chips, cookies and a soft drink. After their meal they were directed to the garden area where an array of gifts awaited them. Each guest received a re-useable water bottle and a bag to collect the items that were made available to them: socks, sweatshirts and sweat pants, jackets, underwear, blankets, hand knit scarves, pet food, rain ponchos and playing cards.

The volunteers were deeply moved by the experience:

  • As we distributed clothing, there was a real feeling of being WITH them rather than FOR them
  • To be able to join with other religious and friends to help serve those made poor is a joy
  • The spirit among the guests and servers reminded me that our tables can easily grow longer to accommodate those folks who find themselves in difficult situations and who could use some support during their challenging times
  • What touched me most was the peaceful setting and safe environment for our guests to spend some time
  • The guests were very grateful
  • We need these experiences from time to time to realize all we have been given and to see what we can share
  • I felt a real sense of community both among the guests and among the volunteers
  • To see such dignity and respect offered to each person really impressed me
  • It was a blessed day for all

(Quoted: Presentation Sisters Pam Chiesa , Ann Conlon, Judy Cunningham, Virginia Espinal, Catherine Mary King, Bernice Gotelli, Pati Reinhart and Kathy Sickly, and Presentation Associate Christine Panelli.)

Photos: Sisters Pam Chiesa and Kathy Sickly; BBQ guests. Used with permission.