Charity Is Infinitely Inventive | St. Vincent de Paul
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Inspired by Gospel values, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) leads women and men to join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to those who are in need and suffering. More than 5 million working poor are served annually by Vincentians in the United States.
SVdP Phoenix has 81 Conferences of Charity, over 3,000 active and associate members (Vincentians), and more than 6,000 volunteers. It serves Central and Northern Arizona and is the largest SVdP in the world. The Diocese of Tucson has 34 Conferences active throughout Southern Arizona, and roughly 750 members.
Why Rosie on the House Supports SVdP
St Vincent de Paul serves the whole community by serving the poor and the homeless. They serve all in need through countless volunteers and donations of dollars and goods. They make it easy for all of us to participate and be part of the solution to all kinds of needs.
SVdP Phoenix serves more than 4,000 meals every day through its five charity dining rooms. Its Family Dining Room offers many of the amenities of a supportive home or school atmosphere, including communal reading and group art projects for younger guests, plus one-on-one tutoring programs and fun educational activities through the supplemental education center within the dining room. Because of COVID-19, all of those activities and meals are served to-go through the dining room's drive-thru window.
At the Food Reclamation Facility, more than 6 million pounds of food arrive every year. From there it's sorted and sent to either SVdP's kitchen for meal preparation or packed into boxes and shipped to 81 neighborhood food pantries. From the neighborhood pantries, more than 400,000 food boxes are delivered through SVdP home visits where trained volunteers deliver a box of food to a family in need.
SVdP has three Urban Farms which harvest almost 30,000 pounds for fresh, nutrient-rich produce to be cooked in the nonprofit's kitchen and served at its dining rooms. Located in the middle of food deserts, these farms help bring fresh produce and healthier food options to families who might not otherwise have easy access or a nearby grocery option for produce. The farms also operate a robust composting program that turns kitchen scraps into valuable soil to grow more food. In 2019, the farms diverted more than 300,000 pounds of food waste from the landfill into farm compost.
SVdP's Resource Center offers their working poor guests or those who are experiencing homelessness a bit of reprieve with showers, clothing, shoes, counseling and referral services.
Through SVdP's neighborhood network of food pantries, families in need of clothing or other household items may receive vouchers to one of SVdP's six Valley thrift stores to pick up clothing, appliances and furniture to help make their house or apartment a home.
Rent and utility bill assistance is provided over the phone through SVdP's Resource Center for people at risk of homelessness. It is also assessed by volunteers making home visits through SVdP's neighborhood network of food pantries based out of Catholic churches. With over 80 neighborhood locations in Arizona, SVdP receives referrals from 2-1-1 Arizona to connect families to its neighborhood services.
"Bill assistance is the very best way to prevent homelessness," Associate CEO Shannon Clancy said. "Especially during this tough year, more and more families teeter on the edge of losing their homes and are just one missed bill away from eviction. That's why it's so important to continue to provide relief, offer bill assistance and help as many families as possible maintain stability and remain in their homes."
Ozanam Manor provides transitional housing for seniors, veterans, and adults with disabilities who have fallen into homelessness. With 60 beds, the shelter provides a safe, nurturing and supportive environment to help residents get back on their feet, secure an income and move into a home of their own. Individual case managers, mentors and classes help residents end their homelessness. Group activities also help residents rebuild community living skills and learn again how to live happy and healthy lives in mainstream society.
The Medical Clinic provides charity health care for uninsured adults and children with a focus on getting chronic illnesses under control and practicing preventative health. The Dental Clinic provides charity and discounted care to children and adults without dental insurance. The Center for Family Wellness has trained Registered Dietitian Nutritionists who offers diet, exercise and wellness education and activities, teaching families good habits to maintain healthy lifestyles. Together, all three branches of the clinic conduct more than 16,500 patient visits and consultations each year.
The Medical Equipment Loan Closet provides crutches, shower chairs, toilet risers, tub transfer benches, commodes, and other rehabilitation items to people in need who cannot afford these necessary health items.
How You Can Help
The number of people receiving services from SVdP has increased dramatically due to the hardships created by the pandemic. More people than ever are turning to the nonprofit – people who have never had to ask for help before, families who are barely making ends meet.
Because of COVID restrictions, fewer companies and individuals are gathering to host food and item drives for SVdP, which resulted in the nonprofit losing out on thousands of pounds of food it relies on to feed families throughout the year. "We are always in need of nonperishable food, but this year more so than ever," Clancy said. "Of course, in the cold season, we could always use coats, hats, gloves, and long sleeves too."
Help by hosting a virtual drive or driveway drive. Simply select a date and promote the drive to your friends and neighbors, asking them to drop their donations off at your driveway during the time you chose. SVdP will provide collection boxes and pick them up after the drive's conclusion.
Gently used clothing or household items help the working poor or people experiencing homelessness. Those not given directly to people in need are made available for purchase at extremely reasonable prices through SVdP's six thrift store locations across the Valley. Every dollar spent at an SVdP thrift store helps support the charity services provided by the nonprofit through its dining rooms, food pantries, health care clinic, shelter and resource center for the homeless.
"Only through the generosity of the community is SVdP able to continue serving those in need," Clancy said. "Without the kind, caring people who join hands with us, we wouldn't be able to serve all those turning to us. That's why we work very hard to assure that every donation is maximized to serve our guests in the most dignified way possible."
SVdP continues to pivot its services to address each day's needs, serving the most vulnerable neighbors and bringing HOPE for each new day – all made possible by your help and generosity!
"We are profoundly grateful for our community and the many partnerships – like Rosie on the House—that help us keep putting food on tables and families in their homes," Clancy said. "Thank you!"
Find Ways To Donate: HERE
Note: Donations may qualify for an Arizona State Tax Credit (up to $400 for single filers and $800 for those filing jointly).
St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) was the founder of the Congregation of the Mission, Daughters of Charity, Confraternities of Charity, and Ladies of Charity. A man of deep faith, keen intellect, and enormous creativity, he has become known as the "The Apostle of Charity" and "Father of the Poor."
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul began in Paris, France, in 1833 when a young law student at the Sorbonne, Frédéric Ozanam, was challenged during a debate to demonstrate what he and his fellow Catholic students were personally doing to help the poor in Paris. Within weeks, Ozanam and six of his peers formed the first "Conference of Charity." Under the conference, this group of seven men financed their works of charity out of their own pockets and from contributions of friends. They visited the poor in their homes, providing them with needed aid and assistance.
Today St. Vincent de Paul is present in more than 150 countries, has 800,000 members in 47,000 Conferences, and 1.5 million volunteers and collaborators. Every day, it helps over 30 million people all over the world.
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