Elena Santora poses by the Casa del Carmen food cupboard dedicated in the name of her grandmother, Elena A. Santora, Oct. 8. The Santora family made a significant donation to support the food ministry of the Catholic Social Services agency.

The Catholic Church in the Philadelphia region provides a wide range of social services to all people. One of the most basic of human needs is food, and two recent events showed the support of the community for the church’s efforts to feed and serve the needy.

Casa del Carmen Family Service Center, a social service facility of archdiocesan Catholic Social Services located in North Philadelphia, dedicated its food cupboard in memory of Elena A. Santora at a ceremony with family members Oct. 8.

Santora was a longtime CSS employee and former administrator of Casa. Her family members visited the facility for the dedication, and donated $10,000 to the cupboard’s outreach efforts.


Some of the foods offered by Casa del Carmen to community residents in need comes from Nutritional Development Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

NDS itself received a significant boost Oct. 2 when it accepted a $67,500 grant from the W.W. Smith Charitable Trust to support all the CSS food cupboards. Representatives from the trust and NDS met Oct. 2 at the CSS family services center in Chester, Delaware County, for the check presentation.

The grant marks the third such award for NDS’ Community Food Program, administered by Denise Hopkins. The program received $25,000 in 2009 and $50,000 in 2011 from the trust. The latest grant will be used to purchase food for the food cupboards at CSS centers throughout the archdiocese.

The children of Elena Santora stand with Msgr. Joseph Garvin, pastor of St. Christopher Parish in Philadelphia, Oct. 8 at Casa del Carmen Family Service Center.

Gift certificates to grocery stores will also be purchased, which are given to senior citizens as part of an in-home visitation program run by St. Monica Manor nursing home in South Philadelphia. The facility’s “Care Partners” offer the certificates to senior residents of the community and shop for the food items the residents most need.

Last year NDS’ Community Food Program provided meals to 89,796 seniors, 186,613 adults and 156,528 children, regardless of background or creed, throughout the five-county archdiocese.