pandemic

06-24-2021 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders

06-24-2021 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders 275 287 SVDP USA

Tell me a story…

These words are implored by every child to parents worldwide. Stories entertain and often educate. Christ Himself used stories, notably parables, to make His point in a relatable fashion to the many varied groups who asked Him difficult questions.

As noted elsewhere in this and future editions of the e-gazette, the National Council has produced a “pandemic special edition” of our TV series “Our Faith In Action: Today’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul” (OFIA).  The show will premiere on EWTN on Friday, August 6.  Our 30 televised minutes will tell stories from three Councils of how they adapted to parish, pantry and store closures, quarantines, no in-person Conference meetings and other sudden disruptions to traditional Society services and relationships. No worries, we will remind you when the airdate gets closer to set your DVR, and we will make the show available later for those who can’t access EWTN in their cable packages.

These three Council stories are actually recaps of several stories within each Council. We could have spent our full allotted time on any one of them! Further, we know that you have such stories too in your Conference and Council. Vincentians across the country adapted mightily to keep going, keep serving, and keep caring for their neighbors.

But what good is a story if it isn’t told?

Vincentians are a humble lot, which sometimes costs us opportunities. We serve quietly, often fulfilling the catchphrase of “Tell me you are ____ without telling me you are ___.” This phrase is used by college alumni groups, branches of the armed forces, those with community pride, and many other affinity groups. Society members have been “telling me they are Vincentians without telling me they are Vincentians” almost to a fault! We are known by our actions, or so we want to believe. More likely these days, our caring, faith-filled examples are either barely noticed or quickly forgotten. Unfortunately, a good example is not as memorable as a bad one.

That’s where a good story helps to make a more lasting impression.

Okay, so many good, humble Vincentians probably won’t talk about their own great works. Let’s agree, then, to tell the good stories of our fellow Vincentians! We can also tell the stories, without names of course, of our friends in need and how they struggle, and then succeed, to improve their lives. We can tell the stories of how a community donor’s resources fed the hungry or provided a virtual class in financial literacy.

This year we all need to hear uplifting stories of pandemic survival, adaption and overcoming the odds. Many such stories exist across the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. After all, we were one of the few groups who continued to serve at the neighborhood level and made a huge difference doing so. However, who really knows about the work we did, and the barriers we overcame?

Many supporters stepped up this past year to help us. Some were existing valued sources of funds, volunteers and material goods. Others, previously unknown to us, contacted us because we were the best or maybe the only resource providers in town during the pandemic. These supporters large and small now deserve the stories of how their efforts made a difference – and how they can continue to make a lasting difference as we press onward. Poverty did not go away with vaccinations.

Our members deserve stories, too, as they may have served in isolation from each other and those we help. They may feel incomplete because they weren’t able to go on an in-person Home Visit. Some miss the prayers and spiritual togetherness of a Conference meeting that, try as we did, just couldn’t be satisfied with a Zoom call.  Let’s take the time now to share our SVdP pandemic stories with each other. As with Christ’s stories, we can learn from them and build community.

Finally, what stories can we relate in our parishes? Masses were shut down for weeks, even months, isolating parishioners from each other. They may not have kept abreast of the Society’s continuing work, or how it adapted to stay healthy for all involved.  As fellow parishioners learn how we persevered, perhaps they will be motivated to join us! Every story should end in an invitation to serve along with us.

We have a unique, and perhaps short-lived, opportunity for the Society to relate our resilience, challenges, and successes, from this pandemic period. Before we all put this crazy time behind us, let’s collect and share the stories that made this year in some ways our Society’s finest hour.

Yours in Christ,
Dave Barringer
CEO

Our Faith in Action…Even During the Pandemic

Our Faith in Action…Even During the Pandemic 1080 1080 SVDP USA

Almost overnight, the world changed forever in March 2020. But while many organizations closed in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s 100,000 volunteers knew that full closures weren’t an option. We would have to adapt our service models — and do it quickly — to safely continue to support our neighbors in need, who were adversely affected by the pandemic.

From masking up to social distancing, we innovated how we serve our neighbors in need, but never changed the Society’s unique person-to-person ministry.

Tune in to EWTN on August 6 at 5:30 PM Eastern for the premiere of a special edition of Our Faith in Action: Today’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul. We’ll share how Vincentians adapted their operations to support our neighbors in new and creative ways.

Mark your calendar, set your DVR, and join us on our travels to Albuquerque, Tampa Bay, and Houston, and see just some of the good works of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

good morning america

From Homelessness to Housing: Sarah’s Hope Family Shelter at St. Vincent de Paul in Baltimore

From Homelessness to Housing: Sarah’s Hope Family Shelter at St. Vincent de Paul in Baltimore 1100 621 SVDP USA

It’s a story that’s all too familiar in the ongoing pandemic: struggling to pay their bills, a family loses access to affordable housing.

Good Morning America recently profiled Alisha Carter, a Baltimore-area postal worker who lost her home during the pandemic. She and her five daughters lived together in their car for a time — until they were connected with Sarah’s Hope Family Shelter, a comprehensive 145-bed shelter in Baltimore City serving families who are experiencing homelessness.

St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore provided the family with a safe place to live, as well as the supportive services that could help them move from homelessness to housing.

Now, the family has a new home, and more importantly, they have hope.

To watch the story, click here:

To learn more about how you can support the work of St. Vincent de Paul Baltimore, visit their website.

Since its founding in Paris in 1833, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has grown to 800,000 members in over 150 countries with 1,500,000 volunteers, including nearly 100,000 Vincentian volunteers across the U.S.

Vincentians understand that service to a neighbor in need is an encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ, and are aware that poverty, suffering, and loneliness are present for millions in our communities. Our work is unique in that Vincentians offer tangible assistance to those in need on a person-to-person basis, including intervention, consultation, or direct financial or in-kind service.

To find the St. Vincent de Paul Council or Conference nearest you, and learn how you can help them serve neighbors in need in your community, visit our Assistance and Services page.

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