November 7, 2008

Letters to the Editor

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Future Farmers of America members help local charity assist the needy

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul welcomed more than 160 Future Farmer of America (FFA) volunteers to our two Special Works facilities (distribution center and food pantry) on Oct. 23-24 for “Days of Service” during the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis.

These highly motivated young men and women complemented our organization’s all-volunteer work force in our mission to serve needy individuals and families.

At our Free Distribution Center, FFA volunteers completed two major projects. They painted a large meeting room and hallway, and they landscaped around the property and spread several yards of mulch. Other volunteers helped clean up and organize areas within the center that will allow us to better serve our clients.

The St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry is housed in a large facility that also contains administrative offices, the Gennesaret Free Medical Clinic, the Ozanam Free Legal Clinic and storage areas. Three shifts of FFA volunteers (about 40 people each shift) performed a variety of tasks at the facility.

In the pantry, they assisted clients with shopping, bagging and loading groceries. Other volunteers sorted food and non-food items, repackaged bulk products and stocked/replenished shelves and roll carts.

In addition, several volunteers worked outside to clean up trash and weeds, remove overgrowth, trim and prune plants, winterize garden areas, till flower gardens and spread several yards of mulch.

Although we are grateful for the annual boost that these young people provide, we also want to thank our regular volunteers for donating extra time to plan, coordinate and supervise the “Days of Service” projects.

The FFA obtained sponsors to purchase tools and supplies for the projects, which allows the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to use our funds for direct aid to the needy. We are also grateful for in-kind donations from Tiffany Lawn & Garden (mulch), Green Acres Landscape (mulch and delivery), Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Parish in Indianapolis (paint and supplies), and Baker & Daniels (lunch for volunteers).

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul appreciates the partnership with FFA in its efforts to promote service learning for members at national days of service. We hope to continue to leverage their talents and enthusiasm in future years.

For more information on the charitable works of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in the Indianapolis area or to make a donation to support our ministries, please log on to our Web site at

Note that we are a 100 percent volunteer organization so every dollar goes to direct aid.

As a faith-based charity, we appreciate your prayers, sacrifices and support in our mission to serve those in need.

- Don Striegel, Pantry Volunteer Coordinator, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Indianapolis

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