What began in 1967 with an anonymous donation of $50 to feed seasonal workers has grown into a community-wide food service provider to the poor. Initially established by St. Paul Catholic Church as St. Martin de Porres, the St. Martin Community Center is now an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation presided over by a board of directors, as defined at the end of this section.
On May 21, 1995 a devastating fire destroyed our location which housed our programs, but an outpouring of community support allowed St. Martin Community Center to continue operations. Uninterrupted service was achieved through the use of multiple locations graciously provided by area churches that share the St. Martin mission to assist those affected by poverty.
After two years of fundraising, construction began on a new facility at the same site at the corner of Branson and 9th Street. This location is centrally located to serve those most in need of our services. In 2002 a $200,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Grant County funded an addition to our facility. This addition allowed for an expansion of our food pantry along with reinstating our daily hot meal program.
Today, the St. Martin Community Center is still committed to making Grant County a better place to live. By providing those in need with basic necessities, including food and clothing, we take an important step toward the larger goal of decreasing the effects of poverty. Many places of worship, civic organizations, companies, and volunteers donate their time, money and food which allows St. Martin De Porres Community Center to serve those in need.
History of St. Martin De Porres
St. Martin de Porres was an apostle of charity, patron of social justice, father of the sick and poor, and helper of the hopeless. He was born in 1579 in Lima, Peru, to a Spanish knight father and a freed slave mother. At 15 years old, Martin de Porres began his relationship with the Dominican Order as a lay brother. St. Martin had a deep longing for God and an overwhelming desire to help all who were poor and destitute. Among the many miracles attributed to him were those of levitation, bilocation, miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures, and an ability to communicate with animals. St. Martin de Porres was later beatified in 1837 and canonized in 1962.
How We Operate
St. Martin Community Center is able to operate through generous individuals who donate monetary, food and household items. St. Martin Community Center is a United Way agency member and receives USDA commodities each quarter and food donations local partners. Kay’s Kitchen has an ongoing need for monetary, food and household item donations in order to continue operating six days per week.
St. Martin De Porres Center Fast Facts
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”