“The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is an international non-profit organization dedicated to serving the poor and providing others with the opportunity to serve. The Phoenix Diocesan Council has been assisting central and northern Arizona families since 1946. Programs include services for the homeless, medical and dental care for the working poor, charity dining rooms, thrift stores, a transitional housing shelter and general assistance for individuals in need.”
“These people have nowhere else to go, this isn’t the last resort for them, it is the only resort.” As I sat in the kitchen with my mother that morning, she put so much in perspective with that simple statement. We often take for granted that our lives give us countless options. Our days consist of choosing item a from item b and these people you meet at St. Vincent de Paul would die for those everyday options, for the chance to choose.
It all began with a debate: how are you helping the poor in Paris? In 1833, the society of St. Vincent de Paul began when a law student, Frédéric Ozanam, and a few of his peers wanted to prove they do their part to help the less fortunate in their community. He took on the challenge almost immediately and within the first few weeks, he and his 6 peers established the first “Conference of Charity” focused primarily on visiting poor families in their home and providing them with the necessary aid.
After some further work, Ozanam placed the charity under the name of St. Vincent de Paul who spend his life serving and living for the poor.Within the next few years, the original group went from 7 to 600 people, reaching out to more than 15 cities and towns in France and gaining over 2,000 volunteers.
In 1845, we saw the charity cross the ocean and pick up in St. Louis, Missouri. One hundred years later Tommy Johnstone, a man from New York, quite familiar with the charity, brought it to the valley.
One of my favorite parts of St. Vincent de Paul is how many volunteer opportunities they offer. According to the volunteer page, “there are literally hundreds of ways that your gift of time could be put to use in helping those in need from volunteering in our medical or dental clinic to serving food in one of our 5 dining rooms, helping out in one of our 8 thrift stores, reading to our children during one of our family evening meal services, administrative type support and the list goes on!”
They also make it easy to sign up and get involved right away. Most volunteers, looking for hands on work turn to these two areas to volunteer, take a look at wat you could potentially be doing for the charity.
The Dining Hall:
- setting up the dining hall for meals
- serving meals
- clean up
- Clothing, furniture and food are sold at low prices
- proceeds go towards helping the program and the families
- hanging and sorting clothing
- arranging merchandise
- waiting on customers
If you are looking to donate some items to help the cause click the link to see what they need!
Check back next week to see what charity I feature next!