Ann Nash hangs art in the family room at St. Anthony Family Shelter. She has worked at the shelter for 20 years. (Courtesy photo)

By Heather Welch
Catholic Charities St. Anthony Family Shelter has changed a lot in 20 years, but Ann Nash has been a constant and faithful presence.
As program supervisor, Nash works with staff to ensure client needs are met and the facility runs smoothly.
Nash said she feels blessed to work in homeless ministry. Her favorite part is witnessing positive change in families’ lives. “At first I see families come into St. Anthony Family Shelter hungry, hopeless, depressed, beat down by life circumstances, with no dreams and unable to see a future,” Nash said.
“Glimpses of hope in families’ eyes and the sense of peace the shelter provides makes those tough days easier. And, getting hugs and high fives from the kids always makes me smile.”
In response to community needs, then Anthony Family Shelter opened in 1988. At that time, the building was small and the resources were limited. Nash said it was challenging to meet the many needs of families coming to the shelter.
Then, in Autumn 2007 demolition of the building was underway, and by December of that year the new shelter’s foundation was complete. During this time, the name of Anthony Family Shelter changed to St. Anthony Family Shelter as a tribute to next door’s St. Anthony Parish.
The 13-room facility with connecting doors could now house larger families. In addition, a former warehouse property behind the shelter was remodeled for a gym and playground.
A celebration was held October 25, 2007, and the building was officially dedicated as St. Anthony Family Shelter The Bob and Maura Geist Building.
Nash said her hope is that the community is educated on the epidemic of homelessness.
“My goal is to be a good servant and not judge others, but help strengthen families, accept them where they are in life and treat everyone with dignity and respect,” she said.
“To anyone wanting to support Catholic Charities and St. Anthony Family Shelter you will never be the same.”