NEW YORK — As part of Francis Week celebrations last month, St. Francis of Assisi Church here held its first Viva Francesco! Cabaret, raising $30,000 to benefit the church’s nearly 80-year-old Breadline.
The Oct. 2 event, held at San Damiano Hall on West 31st Street, drew a crowd of more than 160, including many friars and parish staff members. Tickets sold for $50 each.
The cabaret featured a variety of off-Broadway songs performed by special guest Melba Moore (pictured) and St. Francis’ music ministry, led by Meredith Augustin.
Moore began her career in the musical “Hair,” where she originated the role of Dionne. During her 18 months in the show, she eventually replaced Diane Keaton, becoming the first black actress to replace a white actress as a lead role on Broadway.
She was invited to participate in the cabaret by Augustin, who recognized Moore at Mass. The evening also included an array of Italian wines and cheeses, according to Edward Trochimczuk, the parish’s director of volunteer ministry, and featured photos of the St. Francis Breadline, the longest continuously-operating breadline in the country. The Breadline, established by Gabriel Mehler, OFM, to help the hungry and homeless during the Great Depression, provides coffee and sandwiches to roughly 400 people every morning.
On Dec. 24, volunteers will distribute new sweatshirts on the Breadline for Christmas. St. Francis of Assisi Church is collecting new hooded sweatshirts, size large and extra-large, through Dec. 18. Collection boxes are near the statues of the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph altars in the upper church. Sweatshirts can also be dropped off at the hospitality desk in St. Francis House, 135 West 31st Street.
Mychal’s Message distributed coats at the Breadline on Nov. 25.
In rear photo, Michael Carnevale, OFM, director of St. Francis Breadline, talks with guests at the cabaret.