In 1977, Sister Alice Marie Quinn started what became St. Vincent Meals on Wheels with a single pot of stew served to 83 seniors in a church basement near MacArthur Park.
On Friday — days after celebrating her 82nd birthday — Sister Sam, as she was known by friends, died of natural causes.
As executive director of St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, Sister Sam would rise every morning before dawn for an hour of prayer, then get to work overseeing the preparation and delivery of nearly 3,500 meals to the city’s homeless, homebound, disabled and terminally ill.
Her cause arose from observation. A registered dietitian, Sister Sam noticed that many low-income, elderly people living in apartments near St. Vincent Medical Center, where she had served as assistant dietary director, weren’t eating right.
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