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By Paul Ainslie, President, SVdP Indy

I get lots of phone calls and emails from Vincentians throughout the area. And that is OK; I post my phone number and email quite visibly on the SVdP Indy website and in my email footer. I’m happy to receive phone calls and emails, and I respond to as many as I can.

Recently I’ve received this inquiry: “Should we continue Home Visits when the warehouse is short on furniture and beds are in short supply?” Though this is somewhat a synthesis of a few emails and inquiries, in essence, Vincentians are asking “Do Home Visits matter if we are limited in what we can deliver?”

Our Neighbor Service operation in Indianapolis—and I suspect throughout the Council—struggles this time of year with inventory. We don’t have many couches or stoves. We do have beds, but only twin beds currently. And our scheduling for deliveries in Indy lags up to six weeks currently. If we were a for-profit business, I would say we are in crisis and near failure.

But we are not a business, we are a charity. We should give what we have, and rely on Providence to supply what we need. Though I never expected to see this in action, I’m amazed how many times it seems like we won’t meet our needs, but then some donation appears, and we have the funds, the furniture or the food to serve our neighbors. The Holy Spirit does amazing work.

The International Society has the motto “Serviens in Spe” which is French for “Serving in Hope.” (Remember the Society was founded in and is headquartered in France.) We don’t promise an end to suffering, but we work towards it. We don’t promise a way to stop poverty, but that is our goal. And we don’t claim to have an answer to hunger, but we help to reduce it.

We offer hope. Even if we cannot give furniture or a stove or a double bed, we can give what we have: hope. We deliver more in the Home Visit than just a promise of help. We offer hope. Hope that there is some balm to their suffering. Hope that there is food, clothing, a table with chairs or some beds available for the home. And the hope that someone—our Vincentians—cares about the neighbors and their needs.

January was Poverty Awareness Month. As Vincentians we must be “poverty-aware” every month, realizing we offer much to those suffering from poverty. Our greatest gifts may be the love and hope we can offer our neighbors.

(If you have furniture you wish to donate, you can drop them off at our Distribution Center or schedule a pick-up. Learn more.)