Going from bricks and mortar to working from home


Event co-chairperson Barbara Kepler said the all-you-can-eat buffet is from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the St. Mary's Parish Center, located on Emmett Street in Phoenixville.

"This is the only fundraiser the shelter sponsors on an annual basis," said Kepler. "Our attendance for this buffet in years past has been between 200 and 300 people. That is why it is important for everyone to make their reservations as soon as possible."

Despite the snowstorm that occurred during last year's event, Kepler said the buffet was still a success.

"We sold close to 400 tickets last year and more than half braved the snow and bad weather to join us," she said. "We had 232 adults and 26 children attend. That certainly is a good number considering the weather."

Kepler said the all-you-can-eat buffet will be catered again by Will Christman, of "Make It Special" in Royersford.

"He will be preparing a menu that includes a wide variety of treats," Kepler said. "Such breakfast staples as fresh fruit cup, orange juice, English muffins, pancakes, scrambled eggs, fried country style ham, sausage links, homefries, coffee, tea and assorted desserts."

Along with the buffet, Kepler said 50/50 chances will be sold as well.

St. Mary's Franciscan Shelter, located on Emmett Street, opened in 1987 to alleviate homelessness in the Phoenixville area. It is a nonprofit organization governed by a volunteer board of directors.

According to Kepler, the way the shelter operates, it doesn't just supply room and board for homeless families.

"The shelter has a working relationship with a variety of social organizations such as Phoenixville Area Community Service (PACS), Orion and Open Hearth, Inc., that help families find adequate housing, employment and child care," she said. "We are trying to get people's live back in place. I like that way of helping people out. The shelter runs a tight ship. There are approximately 70 volunteers at the shelter, who come by either daily, weekly, monthly or at events. The families that come in here have to pull their weight as well. They have to do things to help themselves get back on the right track."

The shelter has assisted more than 400 families during its tenure, according to Kepler. "In fact, there are four families that are currently homeowners - three of them have their homes through Habitat For Humanity," she said.

Kepler, along with co-chairs Kathe Spohn and Lois Ashworth, have worked together on this buffet for all 10 years.

"The three of us have been volunteering at the shelter for many years," Kepler said. "This is one event we always look forward to because the shelter means a lot to us. This is a wonderful way to celebrate Valentine's Day with your sweetheart or your whole family. Please bring someone you love to a great buffet."

Tickets are $8 per adult, $4 per child between 6 and 12. Children 5 and under are free. Because this is a catered event, advance reservations are required by Friday, Feb. 6. Checks should be made payable to St. Mary's Franciscan Shelter, 209 Emmett Street, Phoenixville, PA 19460

For more information about St. Mary's Franciscan Shelter or to make reservations for the buffet, please call (610) 933-3097.

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