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By Paul Ainslie, President, SVdP Indy

The recent solar eclipse was an awesome experience in much of our Council area. Even though the science of an eclipse is clear, it is easy to see how many people hundreds of years ago were unable to understand these events and, as a result, feared them.

Science and data can’t explain everything in our lives. For some things, we must take on faith. This most certainly applies to the work we do at St. Vincent de Paul Indianapolis.

When we give out food at the 30th Street Food Pantry does it make a difference? Since the start of 2024, we have had a record number of shoppers for each shift and an all-time high number of shoppers in total. In the first three months of 2024, we served 7% more households than in the same period in 2023.  5,623 new households have registered with the Pantry so far this year. And we have observed a shift in new addresses from zip code 46218 to zip codes 46226 and 46235, just to the northeast of the pantry.  So there are many things we can measure.

But what does all this mean? We are serving more families from different places than ever before. More ethnic diversity as well as more neighbors with few English language skills. As we serve 200+ families per hour, we are constantly asking ourselves: Are we making a difference in their lives?

We have to have faith that doing good works helps those in need. It may be just a bag of groceries, or some basic necessities, but it may be just the sign of hope someone else needs. Even more, we believe that we are following the command that “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matt 25:40)  And that makes all the difference.