Right now, in every corner of the country, a vast army of Good Samaritans is at work caring for the poor in their communities. These “troops” — known as lay Vincentians — are volunteer members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Organized into local Conferences, they number nearly 90,000 and annually provide material and spiritual assistance to millions of individuals and families facing hardships of all sorts.
Those crises include joblessness, natural disasters, social isolation, the threat of eviction or homelessness, or the inability to afford meeting their basic needs for food, utilities, or medications.
Through gifts from friends like you, the National Council trains, sustains, and strengthens these Good Samaritans along their journey of serving God’s people in need.
In the small Tucson suburb of Vail, Arizona, Maury and Susan Bois are among the Vincentians serving at St. Rita in the Desert Catholic Church. More than 650 Vail residents live below the poverty line. “Helping everyone requesting assistance to get back on their feet wasn’t easy when our own coffers were low,” Maury recalls. “We were down to $40 when we applied to the National Council for a Friends of the Poor grant. We prayed and waited.”
The National Council was able to award a $5,000 grant to the St. Rita Vincentians.
“It was an incredible morale booster for us,” Maury says. “It showed in a very big way that we are one Society … that we were seen, that National was with us.”
Gifts to the National Council strengthen the army of volunteers more than just financially. They also help deepen the faith and spiritual growth of every Vincentian, as was the primary mission of the Society’s founder, Frédéric Ozanam. Maury points to the difference that makes.
“Being a Vincentian has changed my life. I’ve become closer to God, and certainly more aware of and sympathetic to the suffering of people requesting our assistance. We’ve relied a great deal on the National Council, and I’m especially grateful for the donors who support them. Their generosity makes possible the Friends of the Poor grants and other resources that are helping us support Vincentians and reach more people in need.”
Gifts to the National Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul help provide Friends of the Poor grants that empower local Vincentian volunteers to serve needs that go beyond what their usual resources can meet.