By Beth Lema
“We believe in the intrinsic value of every person-to serve and be served.” These are the words that you first see when you visit the St. Vincent de Paul website. All of St. Vincent de Paul’s (SVdP) services and ministries are focused on serving the needs of everyone who contacts them. Through their ministries they provide food, clothing, housing and healing.
Our faith teaches us about receiving and giving. We are taught that in these very acts we represent Christ here on earth. This is the mission of our SVDP food pantry.
The needs vary but one of the constants is to provide food for those who request it. Here at St. Elizabeth Seton, we are set up as one of the many community food banks. St. Elizabeth Seton’s food bank has been functioning for many years through the generosity and support of our parish community and volunteers. Over the years they have been able to expand their space thanks to Fr. Kilian’s insights.
At the core and heart of our food pantry are volunteers, who have given of their time and talents to stock, shop and organize this pantry on a regular basis. Presently Barbara Lavigne is leading our team of volunteers, communicating and scheduling them to facilitate a smooth-running pantry. Our team of volunteers work tirelessly to make sure the needs of the guests are met. To navigate the requests, our volunteers often meet with the families to hear their stories, help them with additional resources and offer them a prayer. We handle our guests with utmost care and dignity. It is in the listening and responding to our guests that hope and healing is received. As our food pantry has expanded so have the needs of the community we serve.
A St. Vincent de Paul volunteer once stated that “There’s no off season for our neighbors in need.” Our regular volunteers always find the time, even in the hot months of summer, to work in the pantry and to welcome the returning winter snowbird volunteers who help them as fall and winter set in. The workers and supplies are always needed. To communicate these needs, we use our weekly bulletin to request specific requests, and once a year we hold a parish wide food drive to help supply the pantry. This past fall we hosted the food drive in October. Know that your donations are greatly appreciated and accepted anytime during the year.
May God continue to bless all our food pantry volunteers and the good works of St. Vincent de Paul.