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Mobile Loaves & Fishes, Inc. is a social outreach ministry to the homeless and indigent working poor
We accomplish this mission through the use of three trucks; four catering trucks that are currently scheduled to go out on the streets of Austin, Texas every night of the week utilizing approximately 2200 volunteers. Six parishioners of Saint John Neumann Catholic Church in Austin, Texas, founded Mobile Loaves and Fishes in the summer of 1998. The idea germinated by a conversation one of the founders had with a fellow parishioner about a ministry in Corpus Christi, Texas that provides hot coffee and blankets to the homeless on extremely cold nights. Immediately upon hearing of this ministry the concept of utilizing a catering truck to fulfill this mission in Austin entered the founders mind. This idea would not go away. After sharing this idea with four of the original founders it became evident that this concept was developing some momentum. Both prayers and cash were being offered to support this idea. The sixth founder, formerly homeless himself, became our guide to the streets. We began first by going out on the streets in our own vehicles distributing 75 sack lunches to test our resolve in fulfilling God's call. Our first trip was in September 1988 and it is in September of each year that we celebrate our anniversary. By December of 1998 we had raised enough money to purchase a 1997 Ford F-250 pick-up truck. We immediately drove the truck to Dallas to have the catering bed manufactured and installed. April 1999 began our first full month of scheduled operations with seven teams committing to one night per month. Each team was composed of up to six on the truck crew; those that would actually go out on the streets and a Make Ready crew of about six, which would prepare the sandwiches and load the inventory on the truck for that evenings run. In May 1999 we debut the truck to the St. John Neumann Catholic community after all of the masses on one particular weekend. In addition to having the truck blessed and serving refreshments, we had volunteer sign-up sheets available. We were not prepared for what was about to happen. Over 150 parishioners came forward to volunteer their time and talent to this ministry. By June we were operating on a schedule of 15 runs per month. Through the development of our web based volunteer management and mapping system we are able to manage large numbers of volunteers on many teams going out every night of the week and ensuring that the trucks do not arrive at the same location on a given night. This system will allow us to expand to multiple communities anywhere I n the continental United States. The year 2002 saw the expansion of Mobile Loaves & Fishes outside of the St. John Neumann community. A new catering truck was planted in both the St. Thomas More community and the St. Louis community, both in Austin, Texas. With the addition of these two trucks MLF will soon be on a pace to serve over 100,000 meals annually.
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