Mission & History

Senior Advocates


St. Mary’s Center is a community of hope, justice, and healing that serves at-risk seniors and preschoolers in the heart of Oakland. We strive to improve quality of life through counseling, shelter, nutrition, advocacy and social support.

An independent non-profit social service organization with headquarters and five service locations along the San Pablo Avenue corridor in West Oakland, California, St. Mary’s Center answers basic needs and offers hope for more than 1,000 Seniors and 40 Preschool families every year.

Proud Past and a Bright Future

St. Mary’s Center incorporated as an independent 501(c)3 public charity in 1992, following decades of operation as a faith-based and volunteer-led neighborhood center.  Community leaders across the East Bay trace their passion for volunteer service to serving Sunday Dinner for the first time at St. Mary’s Center.

You may have volunteered at St. Mary’s Center Brockhurst Street headquarters, near 32nd Street and San Pablo Avenue, or at 20th Street and San Pablo Avenue, or at St. Mary’s Catholic Church near 7th and Jefferson Streets in West Oakland. We can trace our roots back to 1939 and education, nutrition, and social programs initiated by Sisters of Social Service. A 1973 survey by Oakland Community Organizations helped direct our plans to serve Preschool Families and Seniors with education, nutrition, counseling and social services. Following the 1989 earthquake, we expanded our services to unhoused Seniors and created a portfolio of 41 units of transitional housing in three locations that help Seniors in their journey home.

Today St. Mary’s Center offers comprehensive social and community services in five locations. We’re proud to have been a part of the giving and receiving that volunteers and participants share over a meal, and to offer a path to hope, justice and healing for all.