June 26, 2009

Be Our Guest / Don Streigel

St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry marks 10 years of hunger relief

As of June 1, the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry completed 10 years of providing hunger relief to families and individuals in the Indianapolis area using the “client choice” pantry concept.

Choice means that eligible clients select—“shop for”—food and other necessities that meet their particular dietary and nutritional needs.

St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry has a long-standing record of providing food using pantries within local parishes but, in 1999, established its first client choice pantry serving the southeast quadrant of the city. That operation has since been merged into a larger facility that serves nearly 3,000 households each week.

Over the 10-year period, the pantry has distributed an estimated 25 to 30 million pounds of food to qualified clients at no cost and without regard to religious affiliation, race or national origin.

The pantry’s mission statement is as follows:

“Responding to God’s call to ‘feed the hungry’ (Mt 25:35), we strive to manifest God’s love to all by providing a selection of food and self-help programs to those in need in an atmosphere of dignity and love for client and volunteer alike.”

In addition to the food pantry, the facility houses a free medical clinic and a free legal clinic that are available to the needy. Other services and information, such as mammograms, government programs and tax preparation, are provided on site.

The pantry, as well as the entire central and southern Indiana unit of the society, operates with 100 percent volunteers, and relies primarily on individual donations to cover annual expenses.

We have also been blessed with foundation grants for major expenses, such as refrigeration units, construction and roof replacement.

On this 10th anniversary, the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry would like to thank those who have contributed to the success: volunteers, benefactors, grantors, in-kind donors, suppliers and vendors.

Without them, fulfilling our mission would not be possible.

For more information on the charitable works of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in the Indianapolis area, or to make a donation to support our ministry, visit our Web site at www.SVDPindy.org.

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

(Don Striegel is the Indianapolis chapter’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry’s volunteer coordinator.)

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