By Michael Fassbender
Photos by Bill Archer
As the Year of Mercy begins, many will be looking for ways to give to the needy.
It is more than simply a question of writing a check and then forgetting about it; people want to know that their gifts will truly improve somebody’s life. Whether you are looking for an organization to receive your donations, or you seek an opportunity to volunteer your time, the St. Isidore Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society is an avenue to ensure that your giving will make the desired impact.
The St. Vincent de Paul Society is an international organization formed to serve the poor and those who are temporarily needy. Local chapters are known as conferences, and the St. Isidore Conference consists of twelve members, although there is certainly room for more. The conference is the point of entry, both for those seeking aid and for those who wish to give. This is important because of the personalized nature of aid provided by the Society.
Each person is treated as an individual, and with the dignity of a child of God. Aid begins when someone in need, whether a part of this parish or in the broader community, calls seeking help. After a prescreening, the caller is assigned a case worker who assesses the caller’s circumstances and consults with the rest of the group for ideas on how to deal with their needs. A wide array of options are available. As an example, the Society helps pay one month’s utility bill or partial rent in emergency circumstances directly to the utility company or landlord for the client. For another, twice per year, a family can visit one of the seven stores in the area for sets of clothing. As appropriate, the Society can direct the applicant to local public and private sources of aid, such as food pantries. Most importantly, they can provide assistance to deal with the specific problem: if someone is out of work, for example, the Society can help to find employment.
For those who wish to give, options are available at St. Isidore. Clothing can be donated at the receptacle in the parking lot. St. Vincent de Paul Society is funded in part through your Offertory giving. Monetary donations can be made at church, but the envelope needs to specify the gift is for St. Vincent de Paul. Volunteers are welcome; in particular, Spanish-speaking or bilingual volunteers are needed. Call Lisa Puclik at 630-295-6890 for more information.