Saint Vincent De Paul

photo credit: stvincentparish.org

Saint Vincent De Paul

St. Vincent de Paul meets every third Thursday of the month in the FLC at 7 p.m. We are always looking for anyone interested in helping us care for those in need.

The St. Vincent de Paul Hotline for those in need is (843) 901-7837.

St. Vincent De Paul and St. Joseph

From time to tome there is a call from the pulpit or in the bulletin to support the cork of the St. Vincent De Paul Society.  We associate the name St. Vincent and helping the needy when we see the poor boxes at the church doors and the food pantry donation box in the back of the church.  Just who is the Saint and what is the ministry of his Vincentian followers, particularly at St. Joseph?

Vincent De Paul was ordained a priest in Paris, France at the age of 19 in the year 1600.  Throughout his life, he was inspired to serve God by serving the poor.  He gave this direction to his followers: “You will go and visit the poor ten times a day and ten times a day you will see the face of God.”  He was assisted by St. Louise deMarillac, who established the order of Daughters of Mercy, in organizing France’s social service system.

In 1885 a college student Frederic Ozanam chose St. Vincent De Paul as the patron of a society of lay people to carry on the work of serving the poor.  His vision was that the poor suffer less from a lack of generosity than from a lack of organization.  The society experienced rapid growth, coming to the United States in 1845.  There are now 800,000 members in 150 countries.  The Vincentian Rule tells us that: “In the poor, we see the suffering Christ and in serving the poor we serve Jesus Christ.”

In today’s world it is a challenge to define poverty and even more of a challenge to confront it.  We call upon our government to work for the common good and provide a safety net for our neighbors.  Faith based charities augment government agencies and in many instances are the last resort in providing basic needs in an emergency.  Within our parish boundaries, there is a call to respond to basic needs of the elderly poor, the disabled poor, and the working poor residing in senior housing, subsidized apartments and off the main road dwellings.

The St. Joseph SVDP Conference has 30 active members, a number of associate members, and many supporters in our parish community.  Our outreach to those in need starts with a “helpline” (843) 901-7937.  When a potential client calls and leaves a phone number, one of our members returns the call to offer assistance.  Many times the assistance is a referral to the SVDP conference which serves their neighborhood.  At other times we provide telephone numbers for government agencies such as the housing authority or other agencies if the client’s need exceeds our ability to help.  IF the caller resides within our parish boundaries whether or not a parishioner we offer food pantry assistance and if the need involves a utility, rent, or medical co-pay bill a grant application is provided.  After researching the account with the utility company our volunteers interview the client by telephone or in a home visit where we offer some budget advice and let the client know the dollar amount of help we can provide.  Preventing as eviction of a utility disconnect is always a goal.

During 2017, our 30 members recorded almost 1,500 hours of service to reach 331 households (702 people) through the food pantry and 87 households (197 people) through the grant program.  We distributed $9,825 in food vouchers and groceries valued at $23,000.  Rent grants amounted to $1,755, utility grants $9,200 and medical assists $560.  All of this was made possible by the $24,264 in cash donations and an estimated 5,354 lbs. of food donations from members of our parish.

Those who receive our help are always grateful, expressed with a quick “thank you”, a smile or a hug or a promise to keep us in their prayers.  Thank you St. Joseph community – St. Joseph proud!

Tim Allega