Loaves and Fishes
During the winter of 1982, many people were in need of food and other services. The local Salvation Army Service Committee was being overwhelmed by service requests and churches were also being asked to help, resulting in a duplication of effort for there was no coordination between these helping groups.
George Stolenberg of the Salvation Army approached a local pastor's prayer group to see if area churches might be willing to take a more active part in helping people in need. The pastors agreed to help and began calling people together to discuss the possibility of a cooperative ministry.
After meeting for several months in the conference room at the Paso Robles Police Station, the pastors decided to launch what would be called "Loaves & Fishes" based on the time when Jesus received the lunch of a young man, 5 loaves and 2 fish, blessed it and fed a multitude (Matthew 14:17). Approximately 30 people came together and committed to take part in this ministry. On the first Monday after Easter in 1983, Loaves & Fishes opened its doors at St. James' Episcopal Church at 14th and Oak Streets.
In February 1991, the center was moved to the rear of the Boatman Building (City Annex) where space was provided by the City of Paso Robles for $1 per month. Loaves & Fishes knew it would someday need a new location, as the city would eventually need this space. In March of 1999 the Weyrich Family Foundation approached Loaves & Fishes with an offer to help find the ministry a permanent home. In the spring of 2000 architectural drawings were made, contractors were hired and ground broke on our new building in October 2000.
In September 2000, Loaves & Fishes moved to its temporary location at the First United Methodist Church and St. James' Episcopal Church in Paso Robles. We will forever be grateful to these two churches for helping us during our transition.
In July of 2001 we began to move into our new location at 2650 Spring St. We opened to clients on July 23, 2001 in our new building, which is being provided by the Weyrich Family Foundation at the cost of $1.00 per year with a lease renewable for up to 90 years.
Since 1983, when Loaves & Fishes opened it has responded to literally thousands of requests for emergency care. The number grows each year and in 2002 Loaves & Fishes provided services for over 16,000 people. Most of the responses are in the form of food, but other services and assistance are provided.
The support of the churches, individuals, and businesses of the community along with the local city government make Loaves & Fishes possible. Over 100 volunteers carry out the many functions of the ministry. Don Charles who had been involved from the beginning of Loaves & Fishes became the first paid director in 1989.
In July 1995, Don Charles retired and The Rev. Jacqueline Sebro was named Director.
©St. James Church