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Helping Beyond the Food Drives: Saint Vincent de Paul at St. Christopher Parish

The food drives that we organize throughout the year are important to our mission — however, the need does not end there. If you are looking for other ways to get involved, we can help! Our local Conference operates with the District Council to help support the poor in our area in a variety of ways. The SVdP (Saint Vincent de Paul) food pantry is one of the largest in the area and serves an average of 500 households every week. The pantry is a “customer choice” pantry where individuals and families are able to take a shopping cart and choose what food products best fit their tastes and needs. This is done using a point system and volunteers are needed to assist with answering questions, helping keep track of the points, and bagging. This takes a lot more help, but is instrumental in upholding the dignity of those in need. If you are looking for something a little more behind the scenes, there is always a need to help stock the pantry shelves. Food drives bring in a vast array of food, and it needs to be sorted, organized, and put out so that it can be easily accessed. Well stocked and organized shelves help make everything run smoother! A variety of shifs are available throughout the week during the day and in the evening.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me. Matthew 25:35

Another way that we help behind the scenes is through our home visits. Individuals and families who find themselves in need of basic necessities like bedding, blankets, furniture, and dishes are able to reach out to the local Councils directly or through the food pantry. We have teams that contact them and visit them in their home. We are able to then help assess their needs and provide them a voucher that will allow them to receive what they need from a local SVdP store. We also help with furniture delivery and other items that are not offered through the store. The number of visits needed has gone up drastically this year. We are especially in need of more men to help with this. Our home visit teams are ideally one man and one woman. The district office has a great training session to help prepare home visitors.

And the king will say to them in reply, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

SVdP also recognizes that our works should be grounded in our Faith. We meet twice a month and start the meetings with prayer and reflection. Bill Schneider is our spiritual director and does a great job identifying thoughtprovoking material and leading discussions. These meetings are also used to plan upcoming events and review conference business. We also recognize the need for fellowship and meet a couple times a year to socialize and have some fun.

Some members can’t make the meetings for various reasons and are still active. Most communication is done over e-mail which helps members to stay current with what is happening and volunteer without a$ending the meetings.

If you asked some of our members what they like best about SVdP, you would probably get many different answers. We all serve in different ways, and there is something for everyone. If anything you have read here interests you, please contact Larry Raab at 273-9763; or Ken Kenyon at 845-7407; formore informaion.