March 20, 2020

St. Vincent de Paul conferences modify ministries, call for volunteers

Criterion staff report

Due to the coronavirus, numerous Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) ministries throughout central and southern Indiana have been curtailed or canceled. Below is a list as reported to The Criterion or gathered from local SVdP websites:

Bedford:

The SVdP Thrift Store at 920 17th St., will be closed until April 6. Donations will not be accepted during this time. The plan for now is to re-open on April 6. For up-to-date information, go to the store’s Facebook page, listed as St Vincent de Paul Society Thrift Store Bedford, Indiana (no period after “St”).

Bloomington:

Furniture assistance, donations and operations: Saturday distribution from the center at 1999 N. Packing House Road will be closed starting on March 21. Weekly updates can be accessed by phone at 812-961-1510 or by going to www.svdpbloomington.org. Furniture donations and pickups will continue. To donate furniture, go to the website listed above.

Financial assistance programs will continue. Requests may be made by calling 812-961-1510, ext. 2, or online at the above website.

Indianapolis:

The Food Pantry building at 3001 E. 30th St. will not be open, but pre-packaged boxes of food will be distributed from a tent via a drive-through line on Tuesdays and Thursdays-Saturdays from 8 a.m.-noon.

The Distribution Center at 1201 E. Maryland St. will still send trucks to pick up donated furniture on Saturdays, as well as accept and sort donations, but the client intake desk will be closed until further notice.

The Mission 27 Resale shop at 132 Leota St. will remain open with its regular business hours of Mon.-Fri. from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sat. from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Mission 27 Resale shop at 1618 Shelby St. will be closed until further notice. Go to www.mission27resale.org for updates.

Despite the modified hours, the Indianapolis conference is still in great need of volunteers.

“Our volunteers have been just wonderful,” says John Ryan, SVdP Indianapolis president. “The passion they show for wanting to help the poor is miraculous. I’ve never seen such a group of dedicated individuals who want to make sure the poor are being served.”

But because “a number of our volunteers are retired,” many are understandably refraining from volunteering for the time being, he says.

Yet the coronavirus will not diminish the needs of those struggling. Those demands combined with the temporary decrease in volunteers creates a greater need for people to give of their time to keep these vital services going.

“We need at least 30 volunteers a day at the Food Pantry and at least 10 people a day at the Distribution Center,” says Ryan.

“With schools being closed, we welcome families and teens to come practice works of mercy with us, especially in this time of great need and also this time of Lent when we’re called to re-energize our Christian life of charity.

“Just show up—we have plenty for everyone to do.”

He also encourages those who have an SVdP collection bin at their parish to deposit clothes and shoes in the bins (in closed or sealed bags).

Volunteer hours and tasks for the SVdP Indianapolis Food Pantry and Distribution Center are as follows:

Food Pantry:

Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m.-noon. Enter through the volunteer entry at the back (south side) of the building and ask for the day manager.

Tasks include repackaging large donations into smaller portions; filling boxes with pre-packaged food in an assembly line; directing traffic through the drive‑through line; distributing boxes of food at the tent‑covered drive-through; and more.

Distribution Center:

Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Enter through the Mission 27 Resale entrance at 132 Leota St. on the east side of the building and ask for Ken Schutt.

Tasks include sorting clothes and other donated items.

Five trucks will still go out on Saturdays to pick up donated furniture and other items. Volunteer hours are typically 7:30 a.m. to 1-2 p.m. Drivers must be 21 and have a valid driver’s license. It is recommended that truck helpers be 16 or older. For more information or to sign up to drive or help on a truck or to supervise dock workers, sign up in advance at www.svdpindy.org/i-want-to-help/#time. †

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