The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a charitable ministry that assists those in need to get back on their feet. The ministry is unique because it does not just provide one-time support, but ongoing assistance that is geared toward getting people to be self-sufficient.
Bob Powers is a leading member of St. Rita’s very own St. Vincent de Paul conference. He has seen firsthand the great fruit that comes with showing the love of Christ through charity and service.
“We have an active conference that focuses on doing home visits to assist those in need with housing and utility costs, car expenses, medical care, and other needs,” Bob says. “We respond to about 40 to 50 calls to our helpline each week.”
When the members, or Vincentians, identify a need in one of our neighbor’s life, they spring into action by visiting the neighbor in their home. The visit allows the Vincentians to get a more complete picture of the situation. After deliberating at one of the two monthly meetings at St. Rita’s, the whole team determines how to assist and where to best allocate specific resources.
The ultimate goal is to help people get through their tough times and emerge with both greater security and hope for the future. Oftentimes, this includes the Vincentians assisting our neighbors with finding jobs, or even donating cars so that the person in need can get to and from work.
“We recently helped a couple who had just gotten out of rehab,” Bob says. “They had nothing and needed urgent housing assistance that we provided. They immediately found employment but were limited by their lack of transportation. Three months later, we received a car donation that we were able to give them after we performed the necessary mechanic work. It was a life-changing moment in their lives!”
Stories like this are made possible by the hard work of the Vincentians and the generous support of St. Rita’s Parish. More than 80 percent of St. Vincent de Paul’s funds are raised by St. Rita’s parishioners.
The members of our St. Vincent de Paul conference get to put their faith into action by serving the local community.
“Being a Vincentian means more than helping people in need,” Bob says. “It is about growing in holiness and striving to grow closer to God. It means serving God through serving those in need.”
There is much to do to keep the ministry going. In addition to actually meeting with the neighbors in need and serving them through home visits and financial assistance, there is a lot of work that must go on behind the scenes. For example, as a 501(c)(3), there is a considerable amount of administrative work that is required in order to stay in compliance with the IRS as the ministry shares its resources with community members.
St. Vincent de Paul is always welcoming more members and donations. There are currently about 30 active Vincentians who serve Santa Rosa Beach, Miramar Beach, Freeport, Destin, and DeFuniak Springs.
If you would like to learn more about creating a positive impact on the community through donations or by joining the ministry, contact Alice Sanchez at 850-896-3352.