Who Are We?: The Mobile Loaves & Fishes Story
Who we are: Mobile Loaves & Fishes, Inc. (MLF) is a social outreach ministry for the homeless and indigent working poor. We were founded in 1998 as a ministry of St. John Neumann and became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2000.
What we do: Our mission is to provide food, clothing, and dignity to our brothers and sisters in need. We accomplish this mission through the use of 12 catering trucks that go out onto the city streets of Austin, San Antonio, New Orleans, Providence, and Nashville every night of the week, thanks to the hard work of our almost 10,000 volunteers and a single supply truck.
How we started: Six parishioners of Saint John Neumann Catholic Church in Austin, TX founded Mobile Loaves & Fishes in the summer of 1998. The idea of using catering trucks to distribute food was planted by a conversation one of our founders had with a fellow parishioner, and the rest, as they say, is history. He shared his idea with the four original founders, and before they knew it both prayers and cash were being offered in support.
The sixth founder, formerly homeless himself, became the founder’s guide to the streets, and they began distributing 75 sack lunches a day to test their resolve in fulfilling God’s call. The first trip was in September of 1988, and by December of that year there was enough money to purchase a 1997 Ford F-250 pick-up truck with a catering bed.
April 1999 was the first full month of scheduled operations; there were seven teams each committing to one night per month. In May 1999 the truck was debuted to St. John Neumann Catholic community, and over 150 volunteers from the parish signed up to serve. Soon we were doing 15 runs a month in the truck.
In 2002 we expanded outside of the St. John Neumann community and planted new catering trucks in both the St. Thomas More community and the St. Louis community, both in Austin, TX.
In 2004 new trucks were planted in San Antonio and the Austin Downtown Alliance of Churches. Another truck was planted in New Orleans at the Trinity Episcopal Church in New Orleans after parishioners there were impressed with our immediate relief efforts to our brothers and sisters in Louisiana and Mississippi devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
In 2007 we planted three seeds, one in Texas, one in Tennessee, and one in Rhode Island. For a full list of our communities please visit our community contacts page. We also served our 1 millionth meal in 2007.
Today , in addition to continuing our mission, we have expanded it Habitat on Wheels (HOW), which places homeless people into gently used recreational vehicles that have been fully furnished. To read more about HOW, please look at our HOW information page.
2010 – Present: The New Bedford truck was planted at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church on August 31st, 2010. The New Bedford MLF truck serves 52,000+ meals per year and reaches our brothers and sisters on the streets of the South Coast of Massachusetts. There are MLF runs each night of the week and we’d be honored to have you join us. For more information about volunteering please call St. Paul’s United Methodist Church at 508-993-0614