The group is comprised of 11 active members: Kaye Schroeder (Vice-President), Joyce Miller, Norb Trapp (Treasurer), Dave Feldman, Diane Williams (Conference President), Chris Williams, Joyce Maly, Phil Schutte, Ken Meymann (Spiritual Director), Melissa Stautberg and Peggy James.
(Peggy James, Joyce Maly and Philip Schutte were unavailable for the photo)
There are also many inactive members who support the team’s efforts either financially or through prayer.The SVDP group at any parish is called a 'conference'…so we are known as the “Our Lady of the Visitation Parish St. Vincent de Paul Conference.” Our Conference receives calls on the St. Vincent de Paul cell phone that is shared by two of our members. When someone calls requesting help, members verify where that person lives. Our conference covers anyone within the parish boundaries as well as Addyston. If the need is for more than food a home visit is scheduled. The uniqueness of SVDP is that our members make “home visits” to determine the level of need and to show that they care enough to visit in person. Then a determination can be made as to whether there are additional needs. In 2015 our conference helped over 170 people. Over 30 home visits were made. Conference members have contributed over 500 hours of service.
Of those 171 individuals helped, some needed emergency payment of energy bills (usually the person was within a day or two of having their power turned off). Other calls are for assistance with water bills, rent payment, clothing, furniture medical prescriptions and appliances. SVDP has a small pantry in the basement of the parish office for emergency situations.
Our 11 member SVDP group meets approximately every other week to review requests. Each meeting begins with a spiritual reflection on the upcoming Sunday gospel reading, followed by a meditation on that reading and some words from St. Vincent DePaul's writings about helping the poor followed by a discussion.
SVDP’s funding is from the generous donations of parishioners. A second collection is made 4 times a year on the 5th Sunday of the month. Over $40,000 was collected in 2015 and the same amount was paid out.
Christmas gifts and gift cards were provided to many families that would otherwise have had very little. According to Diane Williams, “It brings tears to your eyes when the people come to pick up their gifts and see what we have provided and become overwhelmed by our generosity. We truly get to see God's face in the people we serve. We truly feel called to serve the poor and downtrodden and are enriched ourselves by serving them.”
Members spend an average of one hour with the person or family to gather information about their needs. They take the time to listen to their client’s problems and try to find a way to help besides financial assistance. Diane added, “We always close with prayer and ask God to watch over them and their families and to help them get out of their situation and to feel God's presence within them. We are encouraged by Pope Francis being such a supporter of caring for the poor and hope to be able to serve more people this year.”
Kudos Corner salutes our SVDP Conference…and thanks the entire team for being missionaries of mercy!