Food, Clothing & Refuge
Since 1984, St. Francis House has offered essential care and services that ensure our guests feel supported and welcomed.
Our ability to provide meals, showers, clothing, and mail/other basic services all under one roof uniquely positions us to meet our guests’ needs comprehensively.
Many guests first come to St. Francis House because they are in need of a hot, nourishing meal. Our menus feature lean protein, low-fat dairy, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. These meals give our guests the fuel they need to go about their day and helps them to develop healthy eating habits. Every day of the year, we serve breakfast and lunch, snacks and coffee throughout the day, and holiday celebration meals.
We gratefully rely on our dedicated volunteers who help us serve more than 220,000 meals a year.
Guests who stay in a nighttime shelter must leave early each morning to allow the facility to clean and prepare for the next night. Our Atrium, on the first floor, and the Resource Center, on the mezzanine level, provide a safe, comfortable alternative to spending the day outside. Here, guests can escape the elements, enjoy the company of friends, watch the local news or a movie, and participate in different activities such as board games and introduction to services that address housing, income, and behavioral health.
The Resource Center also features a library, telephones, and computers – all vital tools for keeping in touch with loved ones and job-hunting. We offer guests a variety of support groups, meetings, activities, classes. One of the favorites is when our volunteer musician plays the piano and leads the guests in song.
For those who are new to St. Francis House, the Hospitality Desk in the Lobby is their first stop. There, guests meet with a Guest Engagement Liaison to receive a St. Francis House orientation and ID that helps them access many of our programs and services, including on-call case management or mental health counseling.
Our Community Engagement and Safety team is posted throughout the building and provides the guests with a warm welcome, and sense of belonging, and help safely navigating the space.
St. Francis House is the largest distributor of clothing to people experiencing homelessness in Boston. Every year we connect thousands of individuals with clean clothing through our Fresh Threads program.
Through the program, we provide guests with everyday attire, brand-new undergarments, shoes, socks, winter gear and other essentials. Having fresh clothing can be lifesaving in many cases. It increases dignity and reduces stigma.
Donate Clothing and Shoes or Host a Drive
Showering daily and maintaining personal hygiene can be challenging for people who are experiencing homelessness. We provide nearly 10,000 showers a year to our guests, along with toiletries, including shaving cream, razors, toothbrushes, and toothpaste.
Receiving mail or conducting business transactions is nearly impossible without a permanent address or valid form of identification. Our mailroom is an accessible, convenient and secure place for family, housing opportunities, potential employers, and others to direct letters to guests who use 39 Boylston Street as their home address. We also provide St. Francis House ID cards, which can help guests acquire a driver’s license or open a bank account. The Mailroom Coordinator assists guests by prioritizing all housing correspondence mail and works with associated case managers so that these opportunities do not fall thru the cracks.