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Dignity is always in season: 100 members of the Navy Football Team serve meals to the homeless at St. Anthony's Dining Room on Christmas Day

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- St. Anthony Foundation readies to roll out the navy blue and gold carpet for 100 players, coaches, and staff from the Navy Football Team on Christmas Day.  The Navy Midshipmen, in town for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, will be joined by 100 community volunteers to prepare and serve 4,000 meals of honey glazed ham to San Francisco's poorest residents.

Homeless and isolated veterans comprise 20% of the meals served in St. Anthony's Dining Room.  For many of these veterans, the anticipation of sharing Christmas dinner with 100 football players from the Naval Academy is a gift that cannot be described in words. 

Michael Rempfer, a formerly homeless military veteran who is part of St. Anthony's year-long drug and alcohol recovery program said, "In my advance military training unit in Aberdeen, MD, my favorite motto was 'with deeds, not words.' The Navy Football players who serve food to the homeless on Christmas Day captures the deed of the season."

Navy football players serving at St. Anthony's represent a continuum of service and a stark reminder of the sacrifices people make for our country.  Like every day of the year, St. Anthony's brings together a collage of people who are willing to serve one another and their community through time, talent, and resources.  It is precisely this expression of community that embodies the dignity of the human experience throughout the holiday season.

In addition to veterans, St. Anthony's serves up to 3,000 meals daily to seniors living on fixed incomes, people struggling with mental illness, and the working poor.  Eighty-eight percent of people who eat at St. Anthony's live alone. 

St. Anthony's Interim Executive Director Barry Stenger notes that opening the doors on Christmas day is about more than meals.  "The holiday season is a difficult time for many of the guests who eat in our Dining Room.  With the rise of people who look to St. Anthony's to meet their basic needs along with the economic uncertainty of the impending fiscal cliff, people are feeling the stress of the holidays now more than ever."  He added that "while it is a stressful time, Christmas is a day of abundance.  This year, like the past 62 years, people around the Bay Area have come to know they can always count on St. Anthony's Dining Room as a place to call home."

This is the 3rd year in a row St. Anthony's has played host to a collegiate football team as part of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, the only bowl game that includes  a philanthropic mission.  To date, the bowl has generated 200,000 meals to support hungry people in San Francisco. This year, Navy will play Arizona State in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl game on December 29th at AT & T Park.

For more than 60 years, St. Anthony's has offered a gateway out of poverty through a network of life-sustaining services. By addressing immediate needs such as hunger and clothing, as well as long term needs such as employment, drug and alcohol recovery, and physical and mental health, St. Anthony's supports people in need as they pursue training, work, sobriety, and purpose. St. Anthony's does not rely on federal, state, or local government support. We are entirely funded by private donations.  For more information, visit www.stanthonysf.org or like St. Anthony Foundation on Facebook.

SOURCE St. Anthony Foundation

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