The Ministry of Caring has provided more than 6.8 million meals at its free dining rooms in the 40 years since it opened on April 27, 1977.
Brother Ronald Giannone, a Capuchin Friar from the Bronx, New York, started feeding poor people in a church basement on North Jackson Street in 1977. His mission began expanding that same year when he opened a single eight-bed homeless shelter in a former firehouse.
Since its founding, the Ministry of Caring has also:
• Admitted more than 20,700 homeless men, women and children to its four emergency shelters.
• Provided approximately 735,000 nights of shelter in its transitional and permanent residences.
• Cared for more than 3,300 homeless and low-income children in its three childcare centers while parents work.
• Provided services for 131,000 city residents through its Samaritan Outreach.
• Grown from one shelter to 40 service sites
At the outset, Giannone gathered a cadre of volunteers from churches, synagogues and community organizations to form a non-denominational ministry to address the myriad needs of poor individuals living in Wilmington.
Today, the ministry operates a dental clinic for the uninsured poor, a mobile medical van, legal advocacy, job training and job placement, three child care centers for the children of homeless and low-income families, a community center, a senior center, a distribution center that provides free furniture and clothing, three free dining rooms, emergency shelters, transitional housing, senior citizen housing and permanent housing for individuals with special needs.