By Paul Ainslie, President of SVdP Indy Council
One of the basic tenets of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is that “no act of charity is foreign to the Society.” This doesn’t mean we try to do everything at once to address the needs of our neighbors. It does mean, however, that we should prayerfully and thoughtfully look at the community around us and actively seek solutions to the needs we see.
Indianapolis is blessed to have so many charitable organizations that can address the needs in our area. Organizations such as the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF), the Lilly Endowment, United Way of Central Indiana and so many others provide relief every day to our neighbors in need.
Similarly, SVdP Indy has addressed hunger and basic household and family needs for over 75 years. Our food pantry serves more than 2,500 families each week, providing nutritious foods that include fresh produce, eggs, milk and meat—at an estimated weekly value of about $100 per family. We know this food has made a difference in the lives of our neighbors. Likewise, our Distribution Center provides furniture, appliances and clothing to neighbors in need. Coupled with a home visit, we strive to see the whole picture of the needs of a household, and then can work to meet the needs that we can. Additionally, our Changing Lives Forever program helps the same neighbors learn about resources that can help solve their own problems and gives them the tools and support necessary to rise out of poverty. To date, this very successful program has helped more than 400 individuals make the move to a more secure life.
Food and clothing are just two of the primary, basic needs of people. A third basic need is shelter, and we have both the duty and the capacity to address the needs of those suffering homelessness. The success of our Mission 27 stores and the generosity of our donors have given us the opportunity to make the big step of launching a transitional housing center for our unsheltered neighbors. We have purchased a building and property on Churchman Ave., and we have begun the necessary upgrades to make it a safe and secure center for this ministry.
I ask for your continued prayers and support as we begin this new phase of our work. There is much we have been called to do.