North Auburn’s St. Theresa’s church offers homeless help

New weekly Sunday program offers food, covering
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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North Auburn’s St. Theresa of Avila Catholic Church is teaming with a local restaurateur and stepping up to join others in the area to feed and clothe the homeless.

The church’s St. Vincent de Paul group is planning to be at the Maria’s Mexican Tacos food truck site on Atwood Road from 9-11 a.m. Sunday (April 21) for the first of what’s planned to be a weekly undertaking to aid the local homeless population.

Father Mike Carroll, who is working with volunteer St. Vincent de Paul parishioners, said that all the churches in the area are trying their best. He noted the work of the nearby Seventh-day Adventist Church to provide showers, as well as food and clothing. Other churches work in an interdenominational effort to provide a place to sleep on a rotating basis for the homeless.

 “Homeless people do come to mass on Sunday mornings,” Carroll said. “We regularly have 40 or more.”

The St. Vincent de Paul Society worked over the winter to help people shelter from the cold and rain. Carroll said the group gave out at least 60 tents.

“It’s hard to sleep when you know people are frozen,” Carroll said. “And in the years I’ve been a priest, I’ve never seen the amount of people slipping into homelessness.”

Maria Moreno, owner of Maria’s, said she’ll be preparing breakfast burritos for homeless people and expects to continue on a weekly basis.

“I love to be involved,” Moreno said. “If you’ve got something, share it.”

The location is north of the church on land owned by bail-bond business owner Frank Calabreta that the Maria’s food truck has been utilizing for mid-day diners since November.

“Maria has a heart of gold,” Carroll said. “In the winter she’s planning pots of soup.”

Carroll said parishioners are kind to homeless people who come to mass and the work at the vacant lot near the church is an offshoot of their desire to help.

 “We’ll start with food and maybe giving out tents and clothes, but we’re hoping that doctors, dentists and eye specialists will also join in,” Carroll said. “Maybe together we can make things a little bit better. “