A Brooklyn Friend of Bread and Life

John P. (Jack) Clarke

“I see the need first-hand here.”


Jack Clarke is one of Bread and Life’s most stalwart supporters.  During the school year, you can find him in his St. John’s University red cap and shirt at least one day a week serving food to our guests.  He is a proud SJU alum. He received his undergraduate degree there in 1955 and a J.D. in 1957.


Jack began volunteering at Bread and Life twelve years ago as a way to recognize our guests as part of the community.  He says, “I try to greet everyone. I hope it’s good for them, it’s good for me.”  He is proud of the volunteer opportunities that Bread and Life offers St. John’s University students especially because, “they learn the value of serving those in need.”


Jack grew up in Park Slope, Brooklyn.  He is no stranger to financial hardship.  He worked his way through high school and college with a variety of jobs including delivering Coca-Cola to the old St. John’s Bread and Life location on Lewis Avenue.  He is grateful to St. John’s University for providing him with a generous scholarship after his father died. The scholarship allowed him to achieve his goal of a college degree.  After receiving his Law degree from SJU, Jack worked as Assistant Counsel for Judicial Inquiry at the Supreme Court of Kings County.  But his love for SJU brought him back to what is now a lifelong career with the University, teaching Law and serving as the Chair of the Department of Law at The Peter J. Tobin College of Business.


Jack pays it forward.  Never forgetting his financial struggle during his student years, he established The Professor John P. Clarke Scholarship at The Peter J. Tobin College of Business to help students with financial needs.  The John P. Clarke Scholarship at St. John’s School of Law also benefits students with outstanding potential.


In addition to his gift of time, he also donates funds to help Bread and Life purchase food and provide meals to feed the hungry. When you ask Jack why he gives, he answers, “The dollars I give are well-spent.  I see the need first-hand here”.


Jack is a member of the Board of Directors of New Ground, a non-profit agency in Long Island that helps alleviate homelessness with long-term transitional housing. 


His good deeds have not gone unnoticed.  He has been recognized numerous times by St. John’s University for his work.  The honors are too numerous to mention but to name a few; in 1986 and 2009, Jack was given the Outstanding Faculty Medal. In 2006, Jack received Bread and Life’s Johnny’s Angel Award. In 2010, New Ground honored Jack at the 10th Annual Groundbreaker’s Celebration.  In 2011, he was honored by the Holy Name Foundation of the Holy Name of Jesus Church in Brooklyn. In 2013, the prestigious Spirit of Service Award was presented to Jack at St. John’s Annual President’s Dinner.


We are privileged to have Jack Clarke as our partner in the fight against poverty.