The Order of Malta Mobile Ministries and Tim Shannon, KM, will be honored by the Catholic Charities San Gabriel Region on May 10 at its Annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner:

As president of the Order of Malta Mobile Ministries, Timothy G. Shannon works tirelessly to help those less fortunate in the San Gabriel Region. Every week, without fail, he and other dedicated members of the Order of Malta Mobile Ministries deliver pallets of food to the Catholic Charities, San Gabriel Region, San Juan Community Center. More than 15,000 individuals benefit each year.

For members who are not familiar with the Order of Malta Mobile Ministries, here is their story:

On a rainy, blustery Thanksgiving Day morning in 2019, the new white van of the Order of Malta Mobile Ministries set off on its first assignment – to deliver flu vaccines to the homeless of downtown Los Angeles. Volunteer student nurses would meet the van at dawn at St. Francis Center on Hope Street, one of the toughest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Working side by side, equipped only with vaccine shots and a generous supply of $5 McDonald gift cards, the student nurses and the small merry band of Knights of the Order of Malta provided flu vaccines and gift cards to 70 of the city’s homeless. For the volunteer student nurses -- many who had administered their very first injection – and the members of the Order, it was a Thanksgiving Day they would never forget.

Just two days earlier, the Order of Malta Mobile Ministries received its official designation as a non-profit by the Federal government. Its founders, Tim Shannon, KM and president, Dennis Diekmann, KM, and Mike Psomas, KM, envisioned an organization that would help improve community health by offering services such as flu vaccinations, food pantry delivery, clothing drives, and vision care right to the neighborhoods that needed them most.

When COVID-19 struck in March 2020, the Order of Malta Mobile Ministries shifted its focus to what it believed was the greatest need -- food insecurity. COVID-19 caused shutdowns and produced hardship for many families. In the beginning of the shutdowns, the van delivered unused food from warehouse refrigerators and freezers to organizations that would, in turn, provide the food to the needy.

Over time, the Order of Malta Mobile Ministries would work with charity partners to establish a regular round of deliveries of fresh fruits and vegetables. On the road at least three days of the week, by the end of March 2023, the van had delivered 1,283,613 pounds of fresh produce to the needy families across Southern California.

In addition to the flu vaccine program, the Order of Malta Mobile Ministries’ activities have expanded to include jacket, backpack, toy, and hygiene kit giveaways; distribution of bottles of water from the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes during World Day of the Sick; and Los Angeles Archdiocese events such as the OneLifeLA walk where it offers first aid and sunscreen to participants.

Since that first van in Los Angeles in 2019, new red and white vans with the Order of Malta Cross have been popping up nationwide, including in San Jose, San Francisco/Oakland, Phoenix, St. Louis, New Jersey, Detroit, and most recently, Colorado -- all providing relief to the poor and the sick. The Order of Malta Mobile Ministries is blessed to be able to serve our communities and thank all its charity partners in Southern California and throughout the county who have worked alongside them.