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Delany, Chris & Dan

loaves and fishesOctober 21, 2015

Dec. 16, 1934 - Oct. 21, 2015, Dan Delany passed away peacefully on Wednesday, October 21, 2015. He was a beloved husband, father, brother, cousin, uncle and friend. In addition to uncommon commitment to social justice, Dan is remembered for his sharp wit, infectious laugh, and total domination in Trivial Pursuit. He was a man of both ideas and action, being an avid reader who could also swing a hammer and make things happen. He was one of a kind, and he was loved. Dan is survived by his wife of 47 years, Chris Delany, his son John Delany, daughter Rebecca MacLaren, son-in-law Carl MacLaren, grandchildren Tim, Erin and Sara Delany, and sister Mary Jo Delany. Dan is also survived by many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be held on October 31, 2015 at 1:00 pm at St. Francis of Assisi Church, located at 1066 26th Street in Sacramento, California. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Loaves and Fishes (

He was a Los Angeles priest who fell in love with a Immaculate Heart nun. Together, they left the Catholic Church, got married, moved to Sacramento and soon began helping the needy in their new hometown by making sandwiches and handing them out from the back of their van. The need grew and so did the work to address it. Soon the van was not enough and the couple opened Loaves & Fishes. That was 37 years ago. On Wednesday, Dan Delany, a towering figure in the local plight of the homeless and the battle against injustice, succumbed to a lengthy bout with dementia. He was 80. He is survived by his wife and co-founder of Loaves & Fishes, Chris Delany; their two adult children, Becky and John Delany; and three grandchildren. Renowned as a storyteller and a wit, Mr. Delany could also be a fierce and persistent voice for the poor. And in many ways, he and his wife lived like those they served, taking only a small salary and never wavering from their vows of poverty they made through the church. Loaves & Fishes began as a modest soup kitchen and expanded through the years to become a broad-based campus with a private school for homeless children, a shelter for chronically homeless and mentally ill women, a kennel for pets belonging to the poor and a kitchen that continues to serve meals to thousands on every day but Christmas. Through the years, it has had tens of thousands of volunteers and is considered by many to be one of the area’s greatest charities, relying solely on private donations. But it has also been a lightning rod for controversy. In the 1990s, the City Council once threatened to sue Loaves & Fishes for feeding the poor on Sundays without a permit and for ignoring repeated warnings to stop. On another occasion, the city threatened to shut down the charity when some businesses and residents in the Alkali Flats section of town complained that Loaves & Fishes attracted too many homeless to the area.

Chris Delany

September 3,2023

Chris Delany, 90, died Sept. 3, 2023, shortly after Loaves and Fishes turned 40 years old. 

Delany is known for being the co-founder of Sacramento Loaves and Fishes, but the meaning of her life goes much deeper for those who helped carry out her mission. 

"She was really just so deeply committed to serving folks who are less fortunate folks, who are living in really difficult circumstances. And she really had quite an intense and beautiful way of seeing people as full human beings - that their humanity was what mattered most to her," said Angela Hassell, executive director of Sacramento Loaves & Fishes.

Loaves and Fishes is described as an oasis for adults and children experiencing homelessness. Hassell says there's no way Loaves and Fishes would exist without the contributions of Chris Delany and her husband Dan. 

She credits Chris for attracting volunteers needed to carry out the work. 

"Without Loaves and Fishes, I think there would be a light that goes out for a lot of folks that are experiencing homelessness. I think there might be more people on the streets," said Hassell. 

Chris and her husband's goal was to create a space where people who are often invisible, can be seen. 

Hassell says her legacy at Loaves and Fishes and in Sacramento is one of deep commitment to service to the poor and to Delany's faith. 

"Folks that are inspired by those tenants of the Catholic worker movement and really walking alongside folks as we all go through this life together. You know, I think that's a big piece of her legacy that she leaves behind and that each day is a new day, each day a new fight. And we've got to do the best we can with each day that we have," said Hassell. 

Her memorial service is planned for Thursday at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Midtown at 1 p.m.  It is open to the public for people to stop by and pay their respects.