Jennifer Canter's day begins before 7:30 a.m. That's the hour that more than 50 men daily are fed a hot meal breakfast at St. Anne's Center before they are asked to leave the shelter to clear the way for the women, mothers and children housed at the shelter who are next at the breakfast table.
Canter is the executive director of St. Anne's Center and her next hours each day will be spent doing various chores that will assure the center is operating well preparing for the meal at 5 p.m. when a mix of men, women and children arrive back for the evening meal.
By 8 p.m., the transients, homeless, including families, are expected to go to bed. Men are bedded on the 2nd floor dormitory. Sleeping quarters for moms and children are on the 3rd floor. St. Anne's small facilities provide a spot to sleep for about 150 each evening.
This enormously heavy work schedule for Canter will change dramatically when the Lantern House, now on the drawing board, becomes a reality and replaces St. Anne's.
Earlier this month, the Utah Legislature generously appropriated $500,000 to the Capital Campaign, and the future of the project was substantially brightened.
St. Anne's has provided compassionate service to those in need since 1994 with the support of a coalition of churches and community resources.
Weber County's veteran legislator, state Rep. Brad Dee, acclaimed the state contribution as "legislative team work at its best."
"There was not a single dissent among Weber County's delegation -- all members were supportive at the appropriation level."
When it came to a vote, there was momentum among the entire legislative bodies after hearing of the need and seeing unity for approval demonstrated by the Weber County lawmakers," Dee said.
Canter is uncertain where the males staying at the center, who might be unfortunate in job searches, are spending their days although it is reported they visit the libraries or hang out at WalMart parking lots.
It was once a male-only facility, but St. Anne's current larger population is due to families -- indeed a cause created by the seriously impacted economy.
The Lantern House replaces St. Anne's will be built and established in a much more accommodating area at 33rd and Pacific -- property donated by Ogden city.
Additional adjunct services will be introduced to the new homeless facility. These will include job service representatives, personnel from Weber Human Services.
The shelter was originally built to provide a hot meal and a warm place to sleep, but the nature of the homelessness has dramatically changed, primarily with the increase of families urgently needing assistance. The soup kitchen has been enlarged to feed a few hundred a week up to hundreds every day.
In 2011, Canter said St. Anne's served more than 50,000 hot, nutritious meals to a community at large. More than 35,000 shelter nights were provided, she said.
Capital Campaign volunteers will continue pushing for funds in hope of inspiring public-spirited citizens to join the cause led by Allan and Kay Lipman and Max D. Thompson. So far they have raised approximately $3.63 million.
The members of the Legislature, with their generous contribution, have given impetus to accelerate the drive to accrue an amount of money that will allow the groundbreaking and construction to proceed later this summer.
"We understand that few have financial resources that can compete with the large amounts that have been achieved during the early stages of the drive," the Lipmans and Thompson said.
But we do appreciate contributions large and small that will most assuredly "take us over the top."
For more information on the Lantern House program or the Capital Campaign contact the Lipmans at 801-698-3411, Canter at 801-726-5808 and Thompson at 801-725-6263.
Flora Ogan resides in Roy and supports the Lantern Home Program. She is a former editorial page editor of the Standard-Examiner.