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A Tradition of Service

     St. Anne Catholic Church is a small historic church in downtown Florence that first opened their doors in 1940 as a mission parish to serve the African-American community. Today, Saint Anne Parish is one of the most ethnically and racially diverse church communities in the area. The church parish is committed to giving back and their tradition of service to the poor is an integral part of their identity. 

     One of the most visible programs that the church participates in is the Martin de Porres Outreach program which provides supplemental food for 125 families every week with more than 6,000 bags of groceries distributed annually. The outreach program has been a caring and loving presence in the community for more than 30 years. Many families have no transportation, so they walk or catch rides to pick up their food each week. Through interdenominational community partnerships and USDA support, the outreach ministry provides both supplemental food and emergency assistance while providing more than 20 volunteers with the opportunity to serve others by shopping for USDA food at Harvest Hope, loading trucks, packing groceries, and distributing food.

     Pat Bromley, Director of the St. Anne Outreach Ministry, has spent her life volunteering, even introducing her husband Henry and two sons, Frank and Rob, into the ministry. Her responsibilities as director include working with clients to get registered with the USDA for free weekly groceries, filling out the required paperwork for Harvest Hope, shopping to fill 125 grocery bags per week, and many other things. “We do this because we want to, not because we have to,” says Pat. “When a client expresses their appreciation and tells you how grateful they are that because of this ministry they will have food in the pantry for their families, it all makes it worthwhile.” Pat goes onto say how they are currently having a hard time getting the quantities of food needed. “During summer months, businesses and individuals don’t donate as much to Harvest Hope. I wish every business would have a box beside their front door for employees and the community to drop off food for the needy so that we would never run low.”

    In addition to the Martin de Porres program, St. Anne is home to dozens of other outreach ministry groups. St. Anne’s Joy Full ministry gives out bags of hygiene supplies for families associated with the local homeless shelter, or families in crisis including stranded travelers, visitors to the hospital, and the needy. Additionally, Helping Hands, an interdenominational committee, meets weekly to make hats, scarves, fleece blankets, and dresses for children at the Pee Dee Coalition Durant Center. The Code Red committee teaches and trains Emergency Preparedness to various community organizations. The Multicultural Heritage Committee plans ways for the parish to celebrate its diverse population as a gift to the church and the community. The committee sponsors interdenominational speakers to celebrate cultural diversity in the city of Florence. St. Anne’s Catholic Church also hosts a monthly Filipino Mass and luncheon to minister to the increasing number or immigrants from the Philippines. And these are just to name a few of their outreach responsibilities.

    St. Anne Catholic Church plans to continue to provide outstanding service to the poor and those in crisis in northeast Florence, however, their buildings, classrooms, restrooms, kitchen, and offices are not up to code and present impediments to the clients they serve every day. In order to make much needed improvements to the facilities, the church is accepting donations and also hosting a fundraising gala, An Enchanted Evening, Building Community in Service to Others on Saturday, October 27, 2018 at Florence Country Club. The event will feature cocktails, dinner, dancing, and a silent auction. Individual tickets and sponsor packages are available. The support will help impact the community by allowing them to add handicapped accessible entrances and restrooms, classroom space to expand community educational opportunities, computer availability, and administrative facilities. Donations will make the auction a success and will make a real impact on the extent to which St. Anne can continue serving the poor in our community!

St. Anne Catholic Church | 113 S. Kemp St., Florence | 843-661-5012

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