A healthy, good tasting meal is a critical foundation for those struggling to make their way. Culinary Services oversees a lunch (M-F) and dinner (T, W) program that feeds 400-600 people per day. Meals are made from scratch using fresh ingredients, some provided through partnerships with farms in the city and the region. An emergency food pantry also helps clients make ends meet in difficult times.

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Center recognized that many who need support could not make it to our facility. For the first time in its history, staff and volunteers began delivering meals to senior homes, youth groups, community centers and homeless encampments. The Center adapts to go where the need is.

Franciscan Center
Franciscan Center

For many indigent, homeless and working poor, the next biggest challenge after finding something to eat is knowing where to go to get help. Responsive Services provides intervention, advocacy, and resource information. Every service clients need—from applying for benefits to securing housing to lining up a job—requires some type of government-issued identification, so this is a critical first step. Also available: case management and counseling, eviction prevention and mail service, dental care, eyeglasses and more.

To reach those who can’t make it to the Center, a community navigator visits homeless encampments to help residents address health issues and find permanent housing and employment.


A steady job can provide an enormous boost to a person’s sense of dignity and hope. Empowerment Services focuses on the building blocks of successful employment: counseling, computer training, job-readiness classes, work attire and network building.

The Dignity Plates Training Academy provides basic culinary instruction to prepare students for entry-level culinary jobs, offer assistance to overcome barriers, and provide an example of passion for the culinary arts. Its curriculum focuses on culinary training and on important soft job skills in the course of a 12-week session. The culinary team and as well local guest chefs, who are well connected in the Baltimore restaurant and hospitality areas, work as employment liaisons for graduates.

Franciscan Center