January 9, 2009

Letters to the Editor

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No letters were printed this week; here is the letter from our last issue:

Society of St. Vincent de Paul thanks volunteers, donors and benefactors

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a faith-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the poor.

In Indianapolis, the society is a 100 percent volunteer organization—from the president/chief executive officer to the newest member.

With about $1million in income (donations) and expenses (aid to clients), the Indianapolis council is equivalent to a small-to-medium-sized business so you can imagine the variety of people and skills needed to run the organization.

There is not enough space to thank each volunteer role. So on behalf of the organization, here are a few examples of the type of “jobs” that contribute to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s goals:

  • Food Pantry volunteers loading groceries into clients’ vehicles in sweltering heat, pouring rain and snow.
  • Truck crews moving and loading heavy furniture and appliances from a donor’s basement to be given to a needy family.
  • Retired accountants meticulously managing income and expenses in light of the current economic downturn.
  • Help line counselors completing an emotional four-hour shift listening to pleas for help from distressed families.
  • Stocking clerks scouring through a damaged tote of food to select items that can be stocked for client shopping.
  • Warehouse clerks going through a mountain of donated clothing to size and hang on racks so clients can choose items for their family.
  • Client interviewers exhibiting patience and respect for each person, from the first client of the day until the last in line, some four to six hours later.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is also thankful for the many behind-the-scenes tasks that are required of our volunteers, such as mowing grass, shoveling snow, sweeping floors, cleaning bathrooms and picking up trash. The list could go on and on.

Of course, our organization needs significant funds to provide services to the needy.

We are humbly grateful for the financial contributions from individuals, companies and foundations that allow us to purchase products and maintain facilities and equipment to continue and expand operations.

As mentioned, the Indianapolis council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has no paid management, staff or workers so nearly all contributions are used for direct aid to those in need.

Finally, thanks to individuals for

in-kind donations of food, furniture, appliances, bedding, clothing and other household items that are distributed to needy clients free of charge.

Have a blessed and peaceful Christmas season.

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

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