HARTFORD – The House of Bread, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph, introduced a new line of pasta sauce during its annual Hunger Banquet held Nov. 20 at the Franciscan Urban Center, Church Street, Hartford.
Created by House of Bread chef and program manager Matt Beard, the sauce will provide a new income stream for the Hartford-based charity when it goes on sale in select retail stores early this year. "The Hunger Banquet was the perfect time to introduce our pasta sauce line," said Mr. Beard. "We sold more than 15 cases of sauce in 90 minutes. I think we have a winner here."
The pasta sauce sales are just one of many fund-raising activities in which the House of Bread, Hartford’s largest soup kitchen, is involved throughout the year. One of its largest fund-raisers is the Hunger Banquet. Even before the doors opened this year, pre-event donations netted the charity more than $50,000. That amount increased by several thousand when more than 500 people attended the simple luncheon of soup, bread and an apple.
"It was our biggest Hunger Banquet ever," said House of Bread co-founder Sister Maureen Faenza. "In fact, seating was hard to find since most people stayed to taste and buy our new line of pasta sauce."
Why pasta sauce? "The House of Bread kitchen is a fully licensed and staffed operation," said co-founder Sister Theresa Fonti. "And everyone likes pasta, so our kitchen staff and our board of directors continually think of ideas like this to help generate the funds needed to manage the increasing number of services we provide to Hartford’s most disadvantaged."
And the number of those in need, according to the House of Bread co-founders, continues to grow. To keep pace, the House of Bread has grown exponentially since its founding in 1980. Today, the House of Bread feeds homeless men and women on a daily basis; provides 1,600 meals weekly to hungry school children through a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Hartford; educates those striving to earn a high school degree against difficult odds; provides food-service training to the unemployed; and houses men and women trying to remain free from addiction.
The House of Bread soup kitchen and thrift shop are located on Chestnut Street.Theresa and Maureen may be reached at 860-549-4188.