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(Photo by John Buckley)

Members of the class of 1951 from San Francisco College for Women gathered Oct. 16 on the Lone Mountain campus. From left: Barbara McTighe, Anne Kirkbride, Claire O’Sullivan, Toni Buckley, Lorraine Urban, Virginia Slevin and Dorothy Shelloe. 

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Table of Plenty serves in ‘irreplaceable atmosphere,’ volunteer says
November 15th, 2016
By Tom Burke

Help, for those in need and those who assist in meeting those needs, seems to be an active ingredient of so many good works in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Table of Plenty in Half Moon Bay is no stranger to the recipe. TOP, established in 2012, will serve almost 8,000 meals this year to struggling people, young and old. Andrew Hu has been a volunteer at the Thursday night suppers since March 2015. Via email he told me his TOP takeaways include “human connections to people I would have otherwise never have met” and being made to feel “useful, a feeling that is not necessarily common for a kid who spent most of his downtime in his room playing video games.”

And that is only the beginning of what the current student teacher at El Camino High School has gained as a TOP volunteer. “It isn’t just the people and the atmosphere they create,” he told me.

The “sense of community” at TOP resonated with Andrew. He called it “the key” to his wanting to be there each week.

“Everyone pours their heart and soul into their work, and while things here and there may get frustrating, we work through and always pull off a fantastic meal every Thursday. From the welcoming and gracious greeters, who will try their hardest to make sure everyone who wants to have dinner with us can, to the rambunctious kitchen staff, to the fantastic servers who go above and beyond. The people create an irreplaceable atmosphere that is warm, welcoming, and, quite simply, wonderful.”

Andrew says volunteer work has benefits on many levels. “Do you want to try and break out of that awkward or shy shell of yours?” he said. “Things like TOP can provide a step to help you push past that. I can say from personal experience, I was severely uncomfortable interacting with other people, especially when I started at TOP.”

Notre Dame Sister Jeanette Braun is TOP executive director. “Andrew is an exceptional volunteer who is willing to respond wherever he is needed,” she told me. “His ready smile, boundless energy and attentiveness to our guests, makes him a great role model for student and adult servers alike.”

Debbe Kennedy has been with TOP since its start. “Andrew puts ‘love into his doing’ whatever the task at hand,” she said. “He is full of joy and yet, amazingly focused on never forgetting a step. His light shines at TOP.”

TOP holds its annual Wine Tasting Nov. 19, 5 p.m., IDES Hall 735 Main St., Half Moon Bay. Tickets $25, must be at least 21 to attend;

New Dean of Community Life at Archbishop Riordan High School is Catherine Mifsud. She will oversee all aspects of student life, including campus ministry and student activities, lead Riordan’s Marianist Integration Team and teach sophomore theology. Catherine holds an undergraduate degree in communications from the University of San Francisco and a graduate degree in theology from Boston College. Catherine most recently served as dean of students at her alma mater, Notre Dame High School, Salinas. She is also a former member of the faculty at St. Francis High School, Mountain View and a former associate director of university ministry at USF.

RENEWED: Sacred Heart Cathedral preparatory blessed its renovated science facilities Oct. 20 at the San Francisco campus. The work has been underway since 2013. The space is named for William and Claire Spencer. William is a 1965 SHC alumnus. “The improvements include movable furniture for increased collaboration, floor-to-ceiling writable surfaces, new plumbing for sinks and gas, chemical resistant flooring, chairs and countertops, updated HVAC, and top-of-the-line audio/visual technology,” the school said in a statement. Science Department chair Mona Dunne said “students feel like scientists the minute they walk in the rooms.”

Seventh graders at St. Pius School, Redwood City, collected 624 pairs of new socks for people helped at Catholic Worker House. The program’s longtime director, Larry Purcell, spurred the students to help with a recent talk at the school.

Email items and electronic pictures – jpegs at no less than 300 dpi to or mail to Street, One Peter Yorke Way, San Francisco 94109. Include a follow-up phone number. Street is toll-free. My phone number is (415) 614-5634.

From November 17, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.


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