About Us

 

Feeding San Antonio’s Homeless Community. Since 1974, St. Vincent de Paul has addressed the plight of the homeless who live on the streets and the working poor. Originally located at the SAMM Shelter, we moved our operation to the Courtyard at the Haven for Hope campus.

In 2010, St Vinnys Bistro® was created specifically to provide three hot, nutritional meals each day,  365 days a year in the Courtyard at Haven for Hope, serving an average of 1,100 to 1,400 meals per day.  In addition, sack lunches are provided for those who work in the community and medicinal meals are provided for those who need to take their medication with food.

In 2020, St Vinnys Bistro was established as a separate 501(c)3 with the purpose that is consistent with the Rule and Mission of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul as well as with the Mission of the Member of any upper council with which it is affiliated.  Download our 501(c)3 certificate here.

We rely heavily on volunteers to help us meet our goals and ensure that all those we serve are treated with dignity and compassion. We partner with dedicated organizations and individuals who donate their time, food or treasure.

To donate please contact us  “DONATE NOW

OUR MISSION

Our mission is to feed San Antonio’s homeless providing three hot nutritious meals 365 days a year to anyone who walks through our doors. The homeless are guests in the Bistro where we provide community and serve them with dignity and respect.  We train interested homeless to work in our kitchen to learn life skills for future employment.

Founders

In 1974, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul began addressing the plight of the homeless who live on the streets and the working poor of San Antonio. In 1985, SVDP opened a kitchen located at the SAMM Shelter on West Commerce Street. In 2010, the kitchen was renamed and moved to the Courtyard at the Haven for Hope campus.

Today St Vinnys Bistro® provides three hot, nutritional meals each day, 365 days a year in the Courtyard at Haven for Hope, serving an average of 1,100 to 1,400 meals per day.

Today, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of San Antonio involves over 2,000 dedicated Vincentian members and other committed SVDP volunteers who serve children, families, and individuals in need. Through their 59 conferences that are located throughout the community, Vincentians identify the need and provide a wide variety of services for basic needs such as food, clothing, rent, furniture, prescription medicine and utility assistance. Person-to-person assistance is at the core of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Vincentians also visit the homes of those they assist. Through the home visit, Vincentians determine how to best help the individual or family in crisis. The home visit is a trademark of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

We owe a great deal of gratitude to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Southwest Texas for many years of servant leadership. We continue to follow their mission “to promote and perform works of charity through personal service.”  Please visit their website: https://www.svdpsa.org/

Food Service Training

In partnership with Haven for Hope, we identify and train homeless clients in food service. Clients are trained in our kitchen to prep food, manage inventory, kitchen maintenance and more.  Clients are prepared to enter the job sector with marketable skills and self-sufficiency.

Kitchen Staff

Wayne Cunningham
Wayne Cunningham
Thomas Thorton
Thomas Thorton
Lorris Gibson
Lorris Gibson
Zohra Bouardi
Zohra Bouardi
Joshua Gonnerman
Joshua Gonnerman
Hope Stewart
Hope Stewart
Gary Thayer
Gary Thayer
Charles Atoki Amana
Charles Atoki Amana
Adrian Jimenez
Adrian Jimenez
  • Lorris Gibson, Executive Chef – Chef Lorris graduated from Scottsdale Culinary Le Cordon Bleu and has worked as a chef in the restaurant industry for over 15 years. Chef Lorris is a master at preparing hot nutritional meals from scratch and incorporating safe leftovers from local restaurants.  Lorris is a calm, pleasant and a hardworking individual who has a passion that is driven by his proficiency in the restaurant industry. A real pleasure is taken by Lorris when the happiness of others is achieved.
  • Charles “Atoki” Amana, Sous Chef – Chef Charles has worked for St Vinnys Bistro for four years. He has a servant heart and always willing to take time with the homeless.
  • Joshua Gonnerman, Asst. Chef – Chef Joshua has worked with St Vinnys Bistro for two years. His favorite food to cook is chicken tenders with fresh salad.
  • Esperanza (Hope) Stewart, Asst. Chef – Chef Hope has worked for St Vinnys Bistro for three years. She loves to cook multiple courses and serve them hot.
  • Gary Thayer, Asst. Chef – Chef Gary has been with St Vinnys for one year. He is usually the first in the kitchen each day and loves to cook all kinds of pasta.
  • Thomas Thorton II, Asst. Chef – Chef Thomas has been with St Vinnys Bistro for two years. He loves preparing hot breakfasts.
  • Wayne Cunningham, Asst. Chef – Chef Wayne has worked for St Vinnys Bistro for two years. He is dependable and looks forward to presenting hot meals everyday.
  • Zohra Bouardi, Asst. Chef – Chef Zohra recently joined St Vinnys Bistro.  She has a friendly smile and is passionate in spreading our message via social media.
  • Adrian Jimenez, Rescue Food Coordinator – Adrian is a dependable driver who has been trained in our food safety guidelines. He has a passion for being on time and food safety.
  • St Vinnys Bistro is an inclusive organization. We do not discriminate, in admission to our kitchen on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age or disability. We are also an equal opportunity employer. No Haven for Hope employee or prospective employee will be denied employment or a promotion because of his or her race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age or national origin.

Board of Directors

MARTIN OCONNOR
MARTIN OCONNOR
GREGG WESTON
GREGG WESTON
GARY PLOETZ
GARY PLOETZ
FRANK R. KIOLBASSA
FRANK R. KIOLBASSA
FR. SEAN DOWNING
FR. SEAN DOWNING
DOUG CROSS
DOUG CROSS
ADAM VALDEZ
ADAM VALDEZ
      • Martin OConnor, Chairman of the Board – Martin joined the United States Army and after an honorable discharge he worked for local medical laboratories.  In 1990 he started a medical device company which grew to sell products to all 50 states and more than 20 countries.  He received the Small Business Leader of the Year from the Northside Chamber of commerce in 2010.  Martin has been involved with feeding the homeless at St Vinnys Bistro since 1999.  He is blessed with a wonderful wife Pamela, four children and six grandchildren.
      • Doug Cross, Vice Chairman of the Board – Doug is a long-time entrepreneur in San Antonio starting several successful companies. He has served on the board of many local charitable organizations including Bluestar Contemporary Art Center, Haven for Hope, Najim Charitable Foundation, and the Rotary Club of San Antonio to name a few.  He is very excited to bring his deep passion to care for the homeless to this ministry.  Doug is most proud of his wife, 5 children and 3 grandchildren. [email protected]
      • Gregg Weston, Treasurer – Gregg is a local entrepreneur and has several successful businesses in and around San Antonio. He has been involved with St Vinnys Bistro for over 15 years.
      • Gary Ploetz, Secretary – Gary has been serving dinner at the homeless shelter since 1995. He is a “crew chief” at St Vinnys Bistro who organizes volunteers to serve dinner once every 5 weeks.  Gary owns and operates Ploetz Investigations, a private investigation firm specializing in forensic accounting.
      • Adam Valdez – Serving others is in Adam’s DNA as he was born into a family that taught him this from the start.  It began with his grandparents who owned and operated several restaurants and small businesses.  Adam’s grandparents taught his family to treat every person with dignity and compassion.  Adam carries on these same values through his work and service every day.  They operate Adam Valdez CPA PLLC, a family accounting firm.  Their accounting practice allows them to be able to serve the community in a much greater capacity, and with the same values of dignity and compassion learned from his grandparents.
      • Fr. Sean Downing, S.M., Spiritual Advisor – Fr. Sean volunteered with the Missionaries of Charity in Rome, Italy in a soup kitchen and served the homeless of Rome.  Through lives of prayer and Gospel service, Fr. Sean dedicates himself to following Jesus Christ, Son of God become Son of Mary.  Wherever he is sent, he invites others to share in Mary’s mission of making Christ present in every age and culture by forming persons and communities of apostolic faith that advance justice and reconciliation.  Fr. Sean is committed to education, in the broadest sense, and ministering in solidarity with the poor.  Currently he serves as Chaplain at Central Catholic High School.
      • Frank R. Kiolbassa – Frank received a Bachelor and Master degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University. He served as a Construction/Combat Engineering Officer in the United States Air Force from 1965 to 1969. Frank continued his professional career as a professional engineer with the City of San Antonio serving as Public Works and Environmental Director from 1977 to 1991 managing over a 100 million dollar budget and nearly a billion dollar construction program for the City. Frank has served the church and community as an active ordained Catholic Deacon from 1975 to 1992. He was youth minister and teacher for 40 years. He still leads many parish projects and is a member of parish council now serves on the parish finance and building committees. He became a Vincentian at the Resurrection of the Lord Parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society in February 2011 and became its President in March 2011.

FAQs

Is St Vinnys Bistro a non-profit?

St Vinnys Bistro is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization.  Download our 501(c)3 certificate here.

Is there a liability for donating food?

Food donors are protected from liability for food donations to charities made in good faith to feed those in need.  Food Donations.

Does St Vinnys Bistro pick up food from individuals?

St Vinnys Bistro only accepts food from licensed food business, such as restaurants, caterers’, distributors, hotels, etc.  These donors must agree to follow our guidelines. SUPPORT/RESTAURANT FOOD BUSINESSES

How do the homeless enter St Vinnys Bistro?

The homeless enter our kitchen through the Courtyard at Haven for Hope, 1300 W. Martin St., San Antonio, Texas 78207. The Courtyard is a safe, outdoor sleeping space. Guests at the Courtyard receive meals at St Vinnys Bistro, communal showers, laundry, basic medical care and mental health care, and other basic services. The Courtyard curfew is 10pm, but special arrangements can be made if your work schedule or other factors force you to come in late. To stay at the Courtyard, you must be able to care for yourself independently.