The first meal service at Our Daily Bread, June 1, 1981

“When we started ODB in a little storefront on the corner of Park Avenue and Franklin Street, we never dreamed it would become as big and comprehensive a program as it is today,” Greg Conderacci said. ODB began by feeding the hungry “a good, hot, wholesome lunch, prepared in advance and served by volunteers. It wasn’t long before Sr. Josanna added a breakfast, too. And, a few years later, she started the Christopher Place program for men which ultimately became the ‘employment’ part of ODBEC.”

Greg remembered that “we were blown away on the first day when 100 people showed up at our door for lunch. The crowd soon grew to hundreds, and there’s never been any real lessening of demand. So, I guess I’m sorry it’s still needed but glad it’s still around.”

Greg credited the development of Catholic Charities’ expertise in feeding, housing and homelessness to “Hal Smith, who had the vision to reach out meaningfully to the most needy, and to Sr. Josanna, who had the compassion and creativity to build a program so caring and durable, as well as the dedicated volunteers who have been the program’s lifeblood.”

Here’s a newspaper article from 1981 about the program’s first week of service. (Copyright © 1981 and 2016, Catholic Review Media. Used with permission.)