Monday, December 29, 2008

CSM Chicago Ministry Highlight: Marquard Center

Father Manny is one of the most inspiring people that I’ve had the pleasure to work with. He oversees the Marquard Center run by the Franciscan Outreach Association. With a vision to know and to serve the homeless, the center provides many services to the poor and the hurting in Chicago.

At the center, free dinner is served every night to an average of 150 men, women, and children The tables are set when the guests enter with tablecloths and flowers and a warm cup of coffee for each adult. During dinner, case managers and other volunteers mingle with the guests who are sometimes just as eager for conversation as they are for food and shelter.

The case managers provide many resources such as help with housing, substance abuse programs, and mental health care. They also provide showers twice a week supplied with soap, shampoo, and towels. Marquard is the only drop off center for laundry in the city of Chicago, free to the homeless.

This is the heart of Marquard and the heart of Father Manny, who serves the poor daily. Our CSM volunteers have the opportunity to serve dinner here and interact with the guests, breaking stereotypes and judgments. Please pray for
Marquard and the clients as they struggle financially and discern if they can remain open this year.

-Julia Damon, CSM Chicago Associate City Director

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