By Karen Boeck
We have an advocate for the poor among our members. Through the years, she has held almost all offices, including President. She is the current treasurer and continues to be a force in helping those in need. When the Pandemic hit, our volunteers who served meals at Santa Teresita dispersed. Our conference had a dedicated team serving for years, so we were caught off guard. For the present, we recruited members and covered by serving the poor through the front door. The force differed in recruits weekly, but we were able to feed those who came. Slowly, we were able to bring the needy back into the dining room where they could shelter for a time. As our conference got more involved, we started to understand the conditions our needy were living under. With weather conditions changing, our advocate saw the need for more assistance. She started a coat drive in our parish as December was cold and rainy. She also put out a request on Next Door.com and found a great many who wanted to help. She brought in 19 SVdP boxes of coats with 2 boxes for Santa Teresita neighbors and 17 going downtown to help those living-on-the-streets. She continued to get more coats on Next Door throughout the month.
June came along and she came up with a drive for jeans and T-shirts. Again, with help from members and parishioners, 20 boxes of goods were received, over 2,000 items. The goods were distributed to the needy who took part in the Santa Teresita Thursday food service, and some went to the downtown location. With the rains and cold of June invading the campsites, there was a desperate need for dry clothing of all kinds to replace their rain-soaked belongings. Our conference, and our parish gave generously.
There had also been a drive for dog items in which we delivered 2 SUVs with dog beds, leashes, collars, food, kennels, and dog toys. This was to assist the homeless who have their animals with them.
A September drive is being planned for shoes and socks for our needy. Our advocate is bringing in a co-sharing helper to assist and keep these drives a part of our conference mission. We at our conference have Vincentians who continue to work extremely hard to make a difference in both our conference and our world. God bless our advocate and each one of our conference team who bring their special skills to do God’s work in helping those in need.