The Cathedral of the Assumption has served food to the needy since the Great Depression. During the 1930s cheese sandwiches were served from the front steps of the Cathedral Rectory. Later, this mission moved to the alley behind the Cathedral and bologna sandwiches were served from a fold-down hatch from the garage door. The alley became known as “bologna alley”.
The program has grown, and since 1999 we have provided a sustaining lunch meal, which usually consists of homemade soup, a bologna sandwich, dessert, and a drink. We provide this meal 365 days a year. We never close.
In 2002 our kitchen received a gift from Brown & Williamson in memory of Thomas E. Sandefur Jr., a former Chairman & Chief Executive. This gift enabled us to renovate and modernize our facility. The Sandefur Dining Hall was opened on Jan 7, 2002, since then we have been a full service Health Department grade commercial-quality kitchen.
Each day, between 12:15 pm and 1:00 pm, we serve an average of 160 homeless and low-income individuals. Each month, approximately 300 volunteers donate their time, talent, and treasure to our Daily Lunch Program.
Volunteers are scheduled ahead of time and the program does not allow for drop-ins.
Volunteers must be 14 years of age or older.
Volunteers are needed daily between 9:30 am and 1:30 pm.
Here are some of the opportunities and duties of our Daily Lunch Program volunteers:
- Assist in the preparation and processing (peeling, chopping and slicing) of donated vegetables, fruits, and desserts.
- Make sandwiches
- Serve the meal
- Wash dishes and clean
- Drivers are needed Monday – Friday mornings to pick-up and deliver supplies, food and bakery goods which are donated to our program from local restaurants and garden markets. Also, a driver is required to take away the recycling from the kitchen.
If you are signed up to volunteer:
- Be sure to wear comfortable clothing, including closed-toed shoes, no sandals or flip-flops
- Bring a ball cap or something to cover your hair
- Keep valuable items (purses, cell phones, wallets) in your car or someplace safe. We are not responsible for lost or stolen items.
- Please find street parking or use PARC parking garage located directly north of the Cathedral on 5th Street.
- The kitchen entrance is located off the alley behind the Cathedral. You can access this alley off Muhammad Ali Boulevard or by walking between the Cathedral and the parking garage. The kitchen is labeled as “Sandefur Dining Hall” and has an awning over the door.
Our lunch program would not exist without the support of countless volunteers and community partners. Many of our volunteers are employed by Humana, Kindred, Brown Forman, Actors Theatre, Hilliard Lyons, Louisville Legal Secretaries group and other legal professionals from the downtown area.
Vincenzo’s Restaurant has for many years made a tradition of providing a delicious Thanksgiving meal to our Daily Lunch Program guests on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. We sincerely thank Augostino, Vincenzo, and the entire restaurant staff for their generosity!
- Sweet Sixteen Farm, together with funds raised by Douglas Boulevard Christian Church, provides goats and pigs specifically raised for our program. Sweet Sixteen donates the fully processed meat once a month.
- Harvesting Hands gleans fruit and vegetables from Farmer’s Markets weekly in the summer growing months.
- Dare to Care Food Bank provide us with meat and other food supplies.
- Garden Gate Fruit Market donates fruit and vegetables
- Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen provides us with tasty cakes, pies, and other desserts once a week.
- Panera Bread Company donates day-old bread and desserts once a week.
- Paul’s Fruit Markets donate fruit and vegetables
Service Learning Programs
The Cathedral offers service learning programs for Catholic grade schools around town, from field trips for 2nd and 3rd graders that educate students about our lunch program and the history of the Cathedral to opportunities for 7th and 8th graders to serve lunch on a weekly basis. Please contact the parish office for more information.
Supplies can be donated by checking out our Kitchen Wish List.
Monetary donations can be mailed to the Cathedral. Be sure to specify that you wish your donation to go to the Daily Lunch Program.