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Challenge to End Hunger—Sr. Katherine Hamilton, OP
Addressing Food Insecurity in San Joaquin County: Education, health care, and caring for the community—all hallmarks of the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael’s presence in Stockton since 1876. Long-time community partner, St. Mary’s Dining Room has been serving the community for three-quarters of a century. In 2015 the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, who have an even longer history in Stockton, provided the funds to add a hot dinner meal service for the guests who depend on the food security. Sr. Katherine Hamilton, OP currently serves as a board member at St. Mary’s Dining Room having recently retired from her ministry at St. Joseph’s Medical Center. She shares a bit about the remarkable work of staff and volunteers, even in the midst of a global pandemic.
Quoting the Servant of God Dorothy Day, Sr. Katherine shares “‘Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.’ These words of wisdom are lived out each day, three times a day, seven days a week, including holidays at St. Mary’s Dining Room.” The Dining Room, which is much more than meals, offers many services: hygiene for men and women, medical, dental, social services.
During the COVID pandemic and at serious risk to the staff, the Dining Room remained open, serving faithfully three meals a day in take-out containers, and increased the hygiene services to seven days a week. Sister has been so impressed with the sense of commitment. “St. Mary’s Dining Room has been a First Responder agency that did not waiver. With strenuous effort by a very dedicated staff, continued to be present daily to each of the nearly 700 guests by feeding the hungry, caring for health issues, and restoring human dignity—providing food for the soul.”
Sister Katherine noted that St. Joseph’s Medical Center, particularly through its SPIRIT CLUB (employee outreach activities), made generous contributions to provide additional hygiene items and PPE, meet increased cleaning requirements, and purchase of carry-out containers to aid in the effort to fight the spread of the virus and protect its staff and their families.
St. Mary’s Dining Room CEO Edward Figueroa, CEO shared “Our guests’ lives have been made better over the years because of the significant commitment the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael have made to our mission. Their prayers, time, and financial support continue to be a blessing as we strive to care for persons experiencing homelessness in our community.”
For more information about St. Mary’s Dining Room and to find out how you can help, please visit their website: https://stmarysdiningroom.org.
Sr. Katherine Hamilton’s story is part of our 2021 Catholic Sisters Week series, a time during which we are participating in a Challenge to End Hunger in collaboration with other congregations. We aim to inspire our friends and neighbors to lend their support in any way they can to help end hunger, not just during Catholic Sisters Week, but throughout the year.
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