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By Paul Ainslie, President, SVdP Indy

This year has just flown by for me. It seems like just the other day we were celebrating spring and all the new life. Now the cold harshness of winter is just around the corner.

SVdP Indy reached some notable milestones this year: our new Love Your Neighbor Center, a supportive housing facility on the southeast side of Indy, welcomed its first residents in July, and now we are regularly housing 11-13 individuals working to get off the streets and build sustainable lives for themselves.

Our Food Pantry served a record number of shoppers in February, and the need for food has stayed steady all year. We regularly serve over 3,500 households through the Pantry and Home Delivery—20 percent higher than pre-pandemic numbers.

Our Dream a Little Dream program has distributed over 1,500 beds to help get kids off the floor and into a real bed, maybe for the first time in their lives.

Our Changing Lives Forever programs have graduated 541 investigators since 2011, and many have continued into our graduate program. Additionally, we have extended this work into the Indiana Women’s Prison where the demand is great for help with transitioning out of the criminal justice system.

As our home visits have increased, so has the demand for household goods. Frankly, we have had difficulty keeping up with the demand, and the need for furniture and appliances has exceeded both our supply and the hours available for distribution each week.

Our Mission 27 stores continue to provide cost-conscious buyers with good deals. A dedicated team of people works behind the scenes to acquire and display new and interesting items.

SVdP Indy sponsored our first trip together as Vincentians, traveling to Rome and Florence, Italy. We stopped at St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel in Rome, the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, the Duomo in Florence, and the amazing Baptistry, Duomo and leaning tower in Pisa. There were 23 travelers, mostly Vincentians from around the Council. Despite some weather challenges, a good time was had by all.

We implemented a Council wide Safeguarding Policy design to keep all those we serve – and all those who serve–safe from abuse, neglect and exploitation.  This has been a long process but the cooperation from everyone involved has been very much appreciated.

We have received grants and gifts, bequests and memorials; held a very successful Summer Soiree and a fun 5K run; and even chucked pucks at an Indy Fuel game— all to raise funds to pay for our programs. We ended our fiscal year a little in the red, which was expected this year with the opening of the LYNC facility and more emphasis on our Dream a Little Dream program.

My heartfelt thanks goes to all the staff, volunteers, donors and supporters who have made this year a success. Not our success, but a success for those who were hungry, and we had food; those who were cold, and we had coats and boots; those who were unsheltered, and we offered housing, hot meals and snacks; and those who were yearning to change their lives and we offered hope. Our success is measured one individual at a time.

May you have a very Merry Christmas and may God bless you and yours in the New Year.