In the United States, there is a massive gap between those who have the means to care for themselves and their families and those who do not. It’s easy to get comfortable in our lifestyle and ignore those living in our community who are on the fringes. Perhaps they had a family member pass away unexpectedly, or they have a medical issue and fell on hard times. Whatever the case, Jesus calls on us to help those among us — “And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me’” (Matthew 25:40).
With Christmas coming up, there’s no better time to help those in need. That’s the goal of the St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) Society. The ministry has about 15 members.
“The involvement, praying, and becoming aware of other people’s struggles and helping them is spiritually fulfilling,” says Mary Ann Carter, who has been involved with the SVdP Society at St. Monica’s for about 10 years. “The fellowship among members can’t be beat.”
The SVdP Society is different from other ministries in that it serves people experiencing poverty as ministry members visit people in their homes to assess their needs. Members always offer to pray with the person or family in need, and as well as help fill their needs via donations at the distribution center. Recipients of care are given a gift card to shop at one of the Mission 27 Resale thrift stores. Society members also check in during Thanksgiving and Christmas to see if the person or family needs anything. The SVdP Society also offers a Changing Lives Forever program to teach those they serve how to get out of poverty and become financially stable.
Mary Ann describes ministry members as “servants to the poor.” She is always touched by the opportunity to help those most in need.
“This ministry enriches my faith as we help others in desperate situations and relieve suffering and struggle,” she says. “I am also enriched by others in my conference as we work together. Seeing their strength, humor, faith, and willingness to help others fills me with gratitude and admiration.”
In turn, Mary Ann has also been touched to see families they have served return to support this ministry financially or with their time.
As the holiday season approaches, getting involved with the SVdP Society and supporting the group financially is a great way to live out stewardship and help those in need to have a joyful Christmas.
To get involved in the St. Vincent de Paul Society, contact Mary Ann Carter at email@example.com.