By Eli Pacheco

Breakfast burritos. Backpacks. Baskets of cleaning supplies and other household items. 

St. Francis House in Dumfries, Virginia, provides these necessities and so much more to people in Eastern Prince William County, where it has operated since 1992. It offers hope to its visitors, assuring them that they have friends and advocates in their corner.  

Based in a modest townhouse, St. Francis House is located near low-income housing and trailer homes. It is an outreach ministry of nearby St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle. 

Katherine Stapleton, 77, is a St. Francis House visitor. She says she feels Jesus’ presence there, especially from director Francia Salguero. 

“When I come here, Francia knows the things I need,” Katherine said. “Jesus is there and will send people to me. The Holy Spirit shows me where I must go and who I must go to. That is my life.” 

Francia knows visitors’ needs well. She has worked for St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle, Virginia, since 2008, and has served as assistant and director at St. Francis House. 

An incredible ministry 

St. Francis House provides weekly meals for local homeless shelters. Every Saturday, April through October, Francia and her family – husband Hector, children Isabella, Natalia, Leonardo, and Angelica Silva, with volunteer Sue Cipparone – wake up at 4 a.m. to prepare breakfast for 70 people.  

She calls the work a blessing to her family. 

“For breakfast, people love burritos,” Francia said. “We also bring fruit and coffee pastries. Kielbasa, pancakes, scrambled eggs, egg-and-cheese and ham-egg-and-cheese croissants, and hardboiled eggs, hot, made the same day. We will order donuts, too.” 

Dinner is provided every Saturday from November through March. It is a delicious part of an incredible ministry at St. Francis House. 

There are also seasonal programs: 

  • Turkey Program: Every November, 50 turkeys and Thanksgiving baskets are distributed to neighbors in need. The Pi Lambda Lambda Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity helps with gathering and distributing donations. 

  • Christmas Program: With the Knights of Columbus Potomac Council No. 9259, St. Francis House gives Christmas presents to kids at local schools. Any family member 12 and younger receives two gifts. Last Christmas, 700 presents were donated. 

Volunteer Katy McClevey helps stock shelves in the food pantry. Francia’s work amazes her, and she and her husband, Rich, love living Franciscan values through their work. 

“Francia is so busy,” said Katy, who joined the ranks of volunteers years ago. “There is such a demand for help, and we have limited resources. It is a small operation, but it does such huge work. I am happy to help in a ministry like this.” 

Francia credits parishioners at nearby St. Francis of Assisi Church, who step up with assistance whenever needed – often, before it is needed. 

“They will ask, ‘What do you need? What is running low? We will get it,’” Francia said. “I could not be more grateful for the parishioners. They are the reason we can help so many people.” 


The exterior of a small brick townhouse with a welcoming sign that reads


Volunteer opportunities 

St. Francis House has many volunteer opportunities available: 

Feed the hungry

The food pantry always needs donations. Offices, social and youth groups are invited to check out the grocery list on St. Francis House’s website and organize a food drive. Individuals are welcome to drop off donations. 

The meals ministry needs people to help prepare and deliver meals. St. Francis House provides dinner to local homeless shelters from October to March, and breakfast from April to September. 

Provide financial assistance 

Some Eastern Prince Williams County residents need help when they receive disconnection notices for their utilities. St. Francis House welcomes donations for these and other expenses that can catch people off guard, including: 

  • Food expenses 

  • Funeral costs 

  • Job searches 

  • Prescriptions 

  • Rent 

  • Transportation 

Donations can be made on St. Francis House’s website

Doing St. Francis’s work 

St. Francis House opened in 1992 with the vision of helping people in the community around it. It has grown through the years, changing, and adjusting things that did not work or the community has outgrown. 

"As Franciscans, that is important,” Francia said. “It is why St. Francis did what he did. We will keep doing his work.” 

St. Francis House is located at 2606 Heth Court, Dumfries, VA 22026. For more information about its programs, visit St. Francis House’s website or contact director Francia Salguero at or at (703) 221-6344.