Franciscan soup kitchens serve Detroit by bicycle

We wrote about Franciscan friar Brother Al Mascia last March. The Detroit Free Press had just written an article and made a video of his program of distributing food and supplies by bike.

Brother Al is still doing his good work and now the Detroit News has published an article with a video.

After losing the brick-and-mortar headquarters for his Detroit-based charitable operations earlier this month, the brown-robed Franciscan friar has kept serving the homeless, the elderly and others in Detroit.

Mascia anticipated the closing of the building more than a year ago and raised $4,000 to buy two specially designed tricycles with vendor carts in front and storage trailers in the back so he wouldn’t miss a beat in serving his clientele.

One interesting but not surprising outcome is that switching from a $200K/month storefront to a bicycle has increased the opportunity to serve the community. And they’re expanding.

The tricycle-based Canticle Cafe provides service six times a week at the public bus terminal on Cass Avenue just north of Michigan Avenue. Father Tod Laverty from St. Aloysius Catholic Church on Washington Boulevard and other volunteers operate the mobile help center on the days when Mascia is out raising money. He has already found a benefactor to buy another tricycle.

They do need volunteers if you are interested in helping during the winter months. They can be contacted via email.

And rather than fight the mall crowds tomorrow, why not plan on ordering gifts such as coffee and candles from Brother Al.

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