SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – It was a bittersweet day at St. Anthony’s Dining Room in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, which is closing its doors after 61 years.

But that’s because it will be replaced by a bigger, better building to serve the poor and hungry.

Since 1950, St. Anthony’s has been feeding the needy in a former Tenderloin garage, designed to serve 200 people at 45 Jones St.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

“We are now serving close to 3,000 meals everyday,” said St. Anthony Executive Director Shari Roeseler. “The space is just too small and the equipment is not efficient equipment any longer.”

Roeseler presided over the last of 38 million meals that was served at St. Anthony on Wednesday, as the old dining room will be replaced in two years by a new $23 million facility.

Rocco will now eat at St. Anthony’s temporary set-up nearby.

“I’m a veteran, a disabled veteran,” he said. “I lost my leg and it’s hard for me to get around. This is a lifesaver, it really is.”

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was also on hand, saluting the end of an era and the start of a new one.

“I’m excited to see a brand new building, but also the same hearts that go into it have always been here,” said Lee.

Mercy Housing will build 91 affordable apartments for seniors above the new facility.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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