November 16, 2007

Be Our Guest / Don Striegel

Year-round gratitude for all who support the Society of St. Vincent de Paul

The last two months of each year find many organizations and individuals donating time, talent and treasure to assist the poor and marginalized.

I would like to recognize the volunteers, donors and benefactors of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) for yet another year of impactful service and contributions to the needy. You have a keen under­standing that there are hungry, homeless and needy people, not just in November and December, but also in February, May, August and all the months in between. Thank you for being there for them.

Through your generous and unselfish donation of time, talent, treasure and material goods, the society has been able to assist thousands of individuals and families with food, clothing, furniture, bedding, appliances and other household items each month of the year—all at no charge to clients. Help is always provided in a confidential and non-discriminatory manner, and with humility, respect and dignity for all involved.

From an economic impact perspective, the estimated retail value of goods and services provided by SVDP to clients in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis this year is more than $4 million. This aid is accomplished by 100 percent volunteers from the council president down to the newest volunteer.

Our volunteers at the parish level and at central distribution facilities dedicate hundreds of hours each week in unselfish service to the needy. We pray for their continued good health and ability to serve others in the challenging months and years ahead.

Of course, SVDP needs significant funds to provide the above services. Financial contributions allow us to maintain facilities and equipment to continue and expand operations.

As mentioned, the Indianapolis council has no paid management, staff or workers so nearly all contributions are used for direct aid to those in need. We are especially grateful to individuals who provide more than 95 percent of the annual operating funds, and to the businesses and foundations that provided grants for expansion of our Indianapolis food program and facilities.

Finally, thanks to our in-kind donors and suppliers of food, furniture, appliances, bedding, clothing and other household items that are distributed to needy clients free of charge. A special note of thanks goes to area Catholic and parochial school students, Scout troops, and other individuals or groups for the food drives that help stock pantry shelves throughout the year.

As a faith-based charity, Vincentians appreciate your daily prayers, sacrifices and support of our ministry. Have a blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas season.

(Don Striegel is a volunteer coordinator for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Indianapolis, located at 3001 E. 30th St. For more information, call 317-924-5769.) †

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