Catholic Worker Hospitality House of San Bruno - Providing meals and shelter in San Bruno, California.

Christmas Appeal

by Ella Chatfield-Stiehler

                                                                                                            DECEMBER 2020

Dear Friends,


The world we live in can be a scary place. 2020 has been a year where it’s been easy to be afraid.  The world is struggling with the coronavirus.  Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost; jobs and economic wellbeing have been lost; daily routines have been drastically altered; families have been separated; and isolation has become the norm.  Our country has gone through an incredibly divisive election and sadly those divisions don’t seem to be healing.  Global climate change continues at an alarming pace while many continue to deny its existence.  Institutional racism continues to be a scourge upon our country.  At the risk of stating the obvious, there is much to fear in our world today.


There is nothing new about a scary world; it is as old as time.  It’s even a common theme in the nativity narratives, when the world was arguably an even scarier place: fear of an angel’s appearance, fear of what God wants a person to do, and fear of political leaders.  All valid reactions, but in every instance the angel of the Lord comforts them with “do not be afraid.”  To Zechariah, “Do not be afraid, your prayers have been answered.” (Luke 1:5-17)  To Mary, “Be not afraid, you have found favor with God.” (Luke 1: 26-33)  To the shepherds, “Do not be afraid, I proclaim good news of great joy.” (Luke 1:8-14)


We know, intellectually at least, that we are cared for by a loving God. Still it’s hard not to feel at least a little trepidation.  This year especially, being told, “do not be afraid” feels like when the angel told St. Paul not to be afraid during the storm at sea because nothing bad will happen to him before he gets executed in Rome. What!  That’s not exactly comforting.


But still, the message of the nativity and infancy narrative is clear and comforting:  God has entered the world in a special way.  If we make the effort, we can deepen our relationship with God and live in peace instead of fear.  The choice is ours.  The world and what we must do in it can be a scary place, but if we trust in God and try to live out mercy and justice, then all will be fine.


As always, we thank you for your generous support of our work with those in need during this very difficult year and hope that you will continue helping us help others in the year to come.


Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,


Peter Stiehler


Catholic Worker Hospitality House




Every year, two weeks before Thanksgiving I get into a tizzy, fearful that we won’t have enough food forour guests. But every year there is plenty.  Every year I fear that something will go dreadfully wrong and the meal will be a disaster and every year it’s a beautiful event.  This year, due to the coronavirus, my fears were doubled. I hate not being able to serve a sit-down meal. How are we going to make the day festive when the best we can do is hot meals To-Go?  Well, once again my fears proved unfounded, as our Thanksgiving Dinner was a lovely event. We had plenty of food, enough volunteers, and over 130 guests enjoying the day.  Even without indoor dining the day was festive, joyful and full of thanks.  I was reminded of why our Thanksgiving Dinner is my favorite event of the year.  I definitely need to be more mindful of the angel’s admonition of “Do not be afraid, everything will be alright.”

We thank all of you who provided food and supplies to make Thanksgiving a special day for all our guests.  We couldn’t have done it without you. Now it’s time to prepare for Christmas…




We will be hosting a Christmas Dinner for our guests, but with changes to account for the COVID pandemic. As with our Thanksgiving Dinner we will only be providing hearty hot meals To-Go. Again, we hate making this change, as it seems hardly festive, but the safety of our guests and volunteers necessitate it.  That said, can you help us host our annual Christmas dinner for our guests by cooking part of the meal?  We need:

  • Ham, cooked and carved, enough for 10 people
  • Potato dishes
  • Milk or juice
  • Cookies, pie, or cake

Please bring food donations between 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 23.  We will be serving the meal between 11:30 – 1:30 p.m. that day.  Food can be brought to our dining room at St. Bruno’s Church, located at 555 W. San Bruno Ave. in San Bruno.  Please call us at (650) 827-0706 if you can bring anything or if you have any questions.    Thank You!



If you’re interested in providing a gift for one of our guests, may we suggest gift cards as the ideal gift for this COVID impacted Christmas?  They would provide Christmas cheer for our guests and enable them to purchase the items they need and want.  It would also limit your exposure to crowds this holiday season.  We suggest gift cards to grocery stores, Target, and coffee houses.  If you still want to purchase a tangible gift, may we suggest one of the following: sweatshirt, thermal underwear, hat and gloves, socks, or underwear.


We thank you for your generosity in helping to make this holiday season special for our guests.