In March 2001, St. Ann’s Catholic Church in West Palm Beach, Florida initiated an outreach center for services to homeless women and men thanks to the efforts of School Sisters of Notre Dame Carleen Cekal and Mary Oliver Hudon.
St. Ann Place has grown since 2011 and now includes breakfast and lunch, shower and laundry services, a food stamp program as well as other services to help ease the burden of those who are homeless. Throughout the 14 years St. Ann’s has been in existence, services have expanded to include securing birth certificates and IDs for clients, an address so they may receive mail and a Health Advocacy Program. A nurse practitioner also cares for the health needs of the clients.
More than 85 volunteers help to ensure the success of the many programs. At the present time, three SSND Associates serve at St. Ann’s: John Pescosolido, Marsha Burkhardt, and Fran Maher. Sisters Carleen and Mary Oliver feel blessed to serve at the Center and it has caused them to reflect on their own habits of eating and buying and inspires them to live more simply.