Back in 2019, 30 million people in North and South America lived in extreme poverty, which means they were trying to survive on less than $1.90 a day. Then came 2020. It is estimated that an additional four to five million people in North and South America will be forced into extreme poverty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The National Council of the United States, Society of St. Vincent de Paul is uniquely positioned to help our international brothers and sisters in need. We are not a social service agency or a top-heavy disaster organization – we are a global family. The heart of Vincentian service is the Home Visit, where we meet personally with our neighbors in need. We affirm the inherent dignity and worth of each human being and provide whatever help we can. This Vincentian spirit is the same, whether we are in St. Louis, Missouri; Houston, Texas; or Kingston, Jamaica.
Another core tenant of the Society is Twinning, which connects Councils and Conferences who have greater resources with Councils and Conferences who lack the means to carry out their works of charity. This can be done directly within the U.S. through Domestic Twinning; or the National Council also offers the opportunity to Twin Internationally.
Right now, we have over thirty aggregated Conferences and Councils in Central and South America waiting for a Twinning partner. These Vincentians provide basic necessities to people living in extreme poverty. The need is enormous, but their resources are scant. Due to the buying power of U.S. dollars, as little as $100 in Twinning contributions can make a huge difference in the services and care they can provide to their neighbors in need.
The Society’s network of charity reaches around the world. Talk to your Conference about partnering with a Conference in Central or South America. You may be able to give $100 each quarter; you may be able to give $500 every month. The amount and frequency are up to you!
To get started, download an International Twinning Application, and return it to the National Office. Elizabeth Martinez, the International Twinning Coordinator, will help you find a good match with an available Conference. If you have questions or want to learn more about International Twinning, email Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (314) 576-3993, extension 225.