St. Felix Pantry is a nonprofit charitable organization incorporated in 1992.
For well over twenty five years, the Pantry has been a safety net for people struggling to support their families in times of crisis. We provide, free of charge, food, clothing, household items, and referral services. But people served by the Pantry need more than food, clothing, and household items; they need respect for their dignity, compassion for their suffering, hope for their children, and a place that welcomes and empowers them for their journey. These are the real gifts of the Pantry.
The need for these services has grown in relationship to the economic downturn: loss of jobs, rise in food and fuel costs, and recent cutbacks in welfare and healthcare benefits. Weekly, the pantry provides food for 1,000 individuals.
St Felix Food Pantry
Our Founder Sister Genevieve
The Founder and visionary of St. Felix Pantry, Sister Genevieve, was born Julia Ryskiewicz, of Polish decent, in Mosinee, Wisconsin on June 3, 1923. There were nine children in the family and Sister Genevieve was the second oldest. Fresh bread for the family needed to be baked daily and as Julia grew older her mother would give her a loaf of bread to take to their next door neighbors who were going through some hard times. Sister Genevieve feels that sharing the loaf of bread and seeing what joy it brought to the hungry family was the beginning of her desire to work on behalf of the poor.
Sister Genevieve recalls, “Sharing that loaf daily did something to my heart. That experience never got lost, and the desire to help the less fortunate grew stronger as the years went by. God must have been preparing me for these years.”
Sister Genevieve moved to Chicago many years later where she worked for a few years and then sensed the calling to the religious life. She wanted to join a Polish community of Sisters who took care of orphans, but instead she got on a street car that took her to the Convent of the Felician Sisters whose Franciscan order started in Poland in 1855.
After she completed her three years of training for the religious life she went on to complete schooling in the culinary arts. Sister Genevieve worked in Milwaukee, Rhode Island, Birmingham, and Centralia, IL. As the need became greater for dieticians in hospitals, Sister Genevieve took dietary courses at St. Mary’s Hospital in Centralia to prepare for her new position. She eventually became the chief dietician in Centralia, IL and Corning, IA hospitals.