May 20, 2023

We're still here!

(Francis in Rocky Mountain National Park in 2007. 
He would have turned forty on May 12, 2023.)

While this blog has not been active with updates for some time, we continue to support the Kansas City Veterans Administration program for veterans in need of a hand up. Proceeds from the sales of Heather's fabulous collection of Francis's recipes, Cooking with Francis, and Robert's award-winning book of essays, Losing Francis, are donated annually to the Kansas City VA in Francis's name. His spirit remains with us, and we believe flows on to the men and women and families supported by the Kansas City VA, thanks to the generosity and love of all who knew Francis, and many who never met him. Thank you, all!

March 20, 2020

Francis Fund donations and COVID-19

Uplifting news from the Francis Fund and Melissa at the Kansas City VA Voluntary Services Unit:

"As part of the Kansas City VA’s response to COVID-19, we are utilizing Francis’s memorial fund to purchase Walmart gift cards to help out our neediest veterans with food supplies. Our VA Supportive Housing social workers have been using the cards to shop for groceries and other essentials and are delivering to the doors of our neediest veterans — those who were formerly homeless and are newly housed."

We can't imagine a better use for these funds right now. Thank you, Melissa and colleagues!

December 2, 2019

Outfitting kitchens for vets!

Imagine finally making it through the front door of your new apartment after living on the streets -- and then realizing you can't even boil water because you don't have a pot. Thankfully, few of us can.

But thanks to the generosity of many, many contributors to the Francis Fund, the Kansas City VA's Voluntary Services Unit, led by Melissa Jacobson, has ordered new cookware and dinnerware for veterans and their families as they set up housekeeping -- finally! -- in their new digs.

The KCVA has housed 400 veterans through the HUD/VA Supportive Housing program. The items shown here will be distributed among them and replenished as needed.

The real holiday gift this year, I think, is to all who support this program and now see the great work being done for veterans through the KCVA and its staff and social workers.
And with a wink to Francis, an accomplished chef -- and much more.

November 30, 2019

Thank you, Kansas Sierra Club!

We appreciate the recent gift of $120 to the Francis Fund by the members of the Executive Committee of the Sierra Club-Kansas Chapter in memory of Anne H. Sommer, Francis's grandmother, who passed serenely away on Nov. 7, 2019, at 89 years young.

As of this date contributions to the Francis Fund have surpassed $30,000 -- a figure none of us could have imagined when we named the Kansas City VA's Voluntary Services Unit as a recipient of donations in honor of Francis eight years ago.

Thanks to the good work of Melissa Jacobsen and her great staff, many veterans have been given a hand up through the generosity of so many people over these past eight years.

Thank you, Sierra Club friends, for your generosity in supporting a great cause!

October 25, 2019

Losing Francis: Essays on the Wars at Home wins the Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award

Losing Francis: Essays on the Wars at Home is the recipient of the 2019 Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award, sponsored by the American Association of University Women - Kansas City.

Losing Francis: Essays on the Wars at Home

August 1, 2019

‘Losing Francis: Essays on the Wars at Home' nominated for the 2019 Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award.

Losing Francis: Essays on the Wars at Home has been nominated for the 2019 Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award.

"Robert F. Sommer has written a remarkably compelling book with boldness and startling passion." --Barry Sanders, author of The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism

"Sommer’s prose often rises to the poetic, his storytelling is poignant yet never sentimental, and his unflinching honesty in relating his son’s life and death leave the reader with a lump in the throat and a righteous anger. Losing Francis will surely take its earned place in the lamentably-large library of great literature of the home front.”   —Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, Oklahoma State Poet Laureate 2017-18