From the Irish American Unity Conference Newsletter
San Francisco News
Submitted by George Trainor
The IAUC is a co-sponsor of the Second Annual An Gorta Mór Commemoration this Spring. The National Famine Commemoration Memorial Day has been set for the weekend of May 21 – 22, 2011. Commemorating the famine in San Francisco will be the California Irish Cultural Society and the Irish American Unity Conference. This event supports San Francisco’s Saint Anthony’s Dining Hall.
The Irish famine, An Gorta Mór, was unparalleled. No famine ever claimed such a high percentage of a country’s population. The given cause of An Gorta Mór was the failure of the potato crop, on which most Irish were solely reliant for food, due to a Europe-wide blight. However, there was enough food produced in Ireland during the years of 1845-1851, to keep most of the victims alive; but that food was taken from the Irish by (mainly English) landlords as rent. Keeping it for themselves meant sure eviction from their land and therefore sure starvation.
Father Alfred Boeddeker opened the doors of St. Anthony Dining Room for the first time on October 4, 1950 in a former auto repair shop and served 400 hot, nutritious meals to his hungry and homeless neighbors in the Tenderloin of San Francisco. Last year, St. Anthony Dining Room served 950,000 meals. The dining hall is located at 45 Jones Street. Meals are served from 10:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Members of the CICS and IAUC, along with some of the staff of St. Anthony Dining Room, recently met with Consul General of Ireland Gerry Staunton. The group discussed with the Consul General their plans for raising money and awareness for St Anthony’s Dining Hall.
George Trainor of the Irish American Unity Conference stated that last years’ commemoration was very successful. “We hope this year more Irish organizations and businesses join us in honoring the victims of An Gorta Mór
For more information on the American Committee to honor the victims of the Irish Hunger, please visit their website: https://irishhungercomm.wordpress.com/about/