Several decades ago, an ambitious minister, Father Joe Carroll, and a successful businessman, Jim Mulvaney Sr., united to address what they perceived as troubling issues in San Diego.
“My father and Father Joe started off by making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at 16th and Imperial,” said Del Mar Heights resident Jim Mulvaney Jr., son of the prominent civic leader.
In short order, with strong support from Mulvaney, Father Joe established a center to feed the poor at the intersection, once the heart of one of San Diego’s most impoverished neighborhoods.
Today, Father Joe’s Villages has evolved into one of the region’s most vital charitable organizations, thanks to contributors such as the Mulvaneys and another Del Mar Heights resident, Franklin Antonio.
One of the founders of Qualcomm, Antonio is a vital financial buttress of Father Joe’s enterprises.
“Most people don’t realize all the things they do,” said Antonio of the breadth of social services available through the organization. “They’ve put all these things that people need in one place.”
The magnanimity of the Mulvaney family and Antonio as well as the volunteerism of Cathedral Catholic High School in Carmel Valley and St. Augustine High in Central San Diego will be honored May 5 at Father Joe’s Villages’ Annual Children’s Charity Gala.
“Each one has contributed in a different way,” said Father Joe’s deacon, Jim Vargas.
The event themed “Up, Up and Away” will be held in downtown San Diego at the U.S. Grant Hotel and will raise money toward the charity’s numerous children’s services.
Father Joe’s will commemorate the contributions of the Mulvaney family, including matriarch, Ruth Mulvaney, and children Melinda, Thomas, Robert, Lawrence, Jim Jr., David and Brian, with the Founder’s Award.
“It definitely was one of those situations where I saw my father’s interest in doing something for others,” recalled Jim Mulvaney Jr., who has been on the organization’s board for 30 years. “He said it’s not what you can do for yourself but what you can do for others that makes things happen in life.”
Franklin Antonio will be honored with Father Joe’s Villages Award for those who exemplify the message that all neighbors, and especially those in need, should be treated with “compassion, respect, empathy, empowerment and dignity.”
“I’ve never received anything like this before so I think this is really cool,” Antonio said.
The gala will begin with a VIP reception at 5 p.m., followed by a 6 p.m. social hour and silent auction with hosted bar and entertainment. The event will also feature an exquisite dinner and program, including a live auction and dancing to music by the band Atomic Groove.
Tickets and sponsorships are available at www.fjvgala.com or by calling 1-800-HOMELESS.
Cathedral Catholic High School to be recognized for service
Among those whom Father Joe’s Villages can count on in its mission to uplift those in need are numerous students, including those from the Carmel Valley campus of Cathedral Catholic High and St. Augustine High in San Diego.
For their commitment, the schools will receive the Bishop Maher Award when Father Joe’s holds its 34th Annual Children’s Charity Gala on May 5 at the U.S. Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego.
The award is named for the late San Diego bishop, Leo Maher, who helped mobilize assistance for the homeless.
“These two schools have gone above and beyond,” said Father Joe’s deacon, Jim Vargas, noting their ongoing help in distributing food at Father Joe’s downtown San Diego center.
“They’re devoted and compassionate,” Vargas said of the students. “We wanted to single them out as examples of young people who are giving of themselves on a weekly basis to help those who are not as fortunate.”
Natalie Resendes, 17, is one of Cathedral Catholic students who goes on service trips to the center. She said she is impressed by the nonprofit’s workers and volunteers.
“It’s just the way they handle people, especially those in more difficult situations,” she said. “It’s really cool to see them because they’re talking with (clients) like they’ve been longtime friends.
“At Father Joe’s, they’re trying to show you can form a bond with them to get them into the system, get them involved and feed them, and it can help them more in the long run.”