Father Chris Coleman, pastor of St. Anthony’s Church, is a regular at Tank’s Bar & Grill As are many of his parishioners. When Tank’s staff wanted to do something for families during the holidays, it was only natural that they turn to Father Chris for advice.
“We consider Tank’s one of the living rooms of the church,” said Father Chris. “I say mass at 7 a.m., and am usually having breakfast at Tank’s by 8 a.m. It’s the melting pot of the neighborhood, and I can accomplish more ministry there during my hour-long breakfast than in a full day at the parish.
“For some people, it can be intimidating to ring the bell at the parish office, but everyone knows that if you want to see Father Chris, just go to Tank’s for breakfast.”
On the day after Thanksgiving, Dan Tankersley, owner of Tank’s, invited a family identified by Father Chris to a Thanksgiving dinner. In addition, Tank’s has placed a food bin at the establishment’s door for the St. Anthony/Vincent DePaul food pantry, spare change is collected at the bar for spare change, and waitresses have pledged a dollar a day from their tip money.
“The cash will go to help people with their heating bills and rent assistance,” said Father Chris.
And, another family will be adopted and invited in for a Christmas meal and gifts.
“There’s a nice atmosphere at Tank’s, family members can order off the menu, and there’s no waste or clean-up. Tank’s employees will buy some gifts from identified needs, although if the chosen family has young children, there may be a few toys.”
Father Chris observed that Tank’s neighborhood is special and includes Walnut Hills, Linden Heights, and even Oakwood. He said it’s a “collage” of Dayton.
“I’ve given faith instruction there, and we have parish meetings and committee meetings there. The waitresses come and work the beer booth and the cooks cook at our fish fries and Oktoberfest – all volunteer work. This neighborhood is special and has taken care of its poor for years.”