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Every year, in every season, the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Juneau helps those who need it most. Homeless families, the elderly, the disabled, low-income children, the working poor. We are Juneau’s channel of care to our brethren.
We need to either sell or move all the furniture in the Thrift Store by the end of the month in order to set up our holiday store. So we are starting a series of sales on our current stock of furniture by repeating our wildly successful Chairperson of the Board Sale.
Hey, you can be a “chair”person of the board like Donald, with our 25% off the marked prices on all chairs in our store. We have had some great office chair donations recently – don’t delay visiting our furniture showroom!
We have many opportunities for folks to donate their most precious treasure—their time. Whether helping stock and manage the Thrift Store, assisting seniors, mentoring children, or just being there for a game of chess, a hike, or a song. The Vincentian Spirit is about people helping people and we seek to strengthen the bonds of our human family. Please call 789-5535 ext. 7, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and leave your name and the activity or skill or talent you would like to bring to others.
While we are always looking for individuals to volunteer their time at SVdP, the backlog of donations at our store is more than the current store volunteers and staff can possibly clear alone. So we have volunteer groups working in the evenings (6:00 to 9:00 pm) on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the forseeabe. We have store supervisors to train and assist you or your group. We provide the snacks. We crank-up the store sound system with whatever music you like. And a good time is had by all! In the last few weeks we had groups from St. Paul’s Catholic Church, and Resurrection Lutheran Church. However, you don’t need to be a religious organization, as we accept slave labor – oops, I mean – volunteers from any group. Book clubs, knitting groups, rugby teams, motorcycle gangs, etc., are welcome! Contact us at email@example.com, or call 808-782-5795 for more information or to schedule your group.
Your donations are the foundation of the St. Vincent de Paul Store. Its revenue is critical to our ability to carry out our mission:
Without your donations to the store, we would have nothing to sell. However, too much of a good thing – like the last few months of the donations bubble (click here to read the story of the putting the donations on hold for two weeks) – stressed out everyone connected with the store, including the staff and volunteers (and therefore, me). However, after huge amounts of work by the staff, regular volunteers, and special volunteer evening work parties (which are continuing and you can join), we have made enough progress to hesitantly reopen donations.
However, we ask that you be gentle and not overwhelm us right now while we continue to catch-up sorting, pricing and stocking those prior donations. Now, to those long-time donors, don’t give me that look of “what do do you mean by ‘be gentle’?” You know exactly what I mean – this is not the time to gather up the 20 bags of clothes in hall closet you have been accumulating all summer, and the 15 boxes of odds and ends stacked up in corner of the garage, and fill up the SUV to run them down to old St. Vinnies. Please spread those things out over a few weeks for us… However, if you have been running around town with some donations bouncing around in your trunk since we caught you off guard by putting donations on hold, then by all means, come on down during our new donation times:
and we will receive your donations with a smile, a hearty thank you and your tax receipt (which we will do even if you show up in the SUV with the 35 bags and boxes). And a final word on donating furniture between now and the end of the holidays…
With a backlog of donations still clogging the back area of the store, we do not have room to store our current stock of furniture in order to make room for the Holiday Store. So, we are putting a hold on furniture donations until after the first of the year. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience. (But you do want us to put us to put up our legendary holiday store, don’t you? Ho, ho, ho…)
St. Vincent de Paul would like to thank the countless volunteers who have contributed to our organization with their most valuable possession, their time. From volunteering at the Thrift Store to delivering Thanksgiving food baskets and everything in between, they have tirelessly been there when needed. Just as important are the people who have contributed their treasure and their talent. Without those donations, St. Vincent de Paul would not be able to function. Today, we are in a unique situation. One of our major sources of funding, the Thrift Store, was moved, making way for 7 new low-income apartments. The store was moved into an adjacent space with much less room. The reduction in the store size resulted in less products to sell and subsequently less income to distribute directly to those in need or to assistance programs. You can contribute to SVDP Programs by clicking on the button above. It is our goal to build a new, larger Thrift Store on land that we have already obtained. This store will continue to use its proceeds to help the poor and needy for years to come. We are asking that you will become a part of this endeavor. Please prayerfully consider a gift to St. Vincent de Paul. All information provided, including your email address, is strictly confidential and will only be used internally for SVDP purposes.
The Society is organized under a simple principle called The Rule. The essence of The Rule is that members look to their local community and reach out to its poor. Members are directed to open their eyes and hearts to suffering, identify the causes and work diligently to permanently remove those causes.
Thrift Store sales and community donations are combined with resident’s donations to support the Homeless and Transitional Housing Food Pantry. Here, the SVdP community can access food, including meat, fish and fresh fruits and vegetables for a fraction of the grocery store price. This resource helps every household in the shelter stretch their income to meet the nutritional needs of their family. Every month, SVdP budgets funds to purchase food vouchers (grocery gift certificates) for non-residents who come to us in need. In addition to the monthly distribution, during the “Project Homeless Connect” community event, SVdP distributes $2,500 in food vouchers to those who are homeless in Juneau.
For more than 30 years at St. Vincent de Paul, “no one leaves hungry.”
Supported primarily from the Walk for the Poor and holiday season donations, over 500 Thanksgiving Dinner baskets—frozen turkeys with all the fixings, including pumpkin pie—are distributed to needy families. Most families are sponsored by one or more service organizations or agencies. Long-time donors and volunteers make this happen with the support of SVdP staff.
Every Christmas, SVdP connects donors with local families that cannot afford even the most modest Christmas for their children. Volunteers and staff coordinate the applications from families and donors shop for specific children by age and gender with information on clothing and shoe size and that “something special” wished for. In 2014, more than 200 children benefitted from this program.
In addition, to food, holiday programs, and more than $100,000 in rent subsidies, SVdP expended over $97,000 last year to help local folks with utility bills, medical expenses, eviction prevention and other “bumps in the road”. We are one of the few places a person who is not a regular “case-managed” client of a social service agency can go to ask for temporary assistance. At the same time, we work closely with all our colleagues in the Juneau Coalition on Housing and Homelessness to help the members of our common family. We do not amass large sums in operating reserves. If we have it, it is available to help others. That is what we do.
Housing and Homelessness
Juneau has always had difficulty delivering decent affordable housing to low-income citizens. Today, Juneau is Alaska’s most homeless city on a per-capita basis. We have 1.5 times the rate of Anchorage and 3 times that of Fairbanks. In fact, Juneau ranks as one of America’s most homeless communities, with a per capita rate also three times that of Los Angeles County.
Over twenty years, SVdP has developed, built and currently manages 125 apartments for low-income households of all types. These are located in six buildings in Downtown, Douglas and the Valley.
In all cases, the tenants of these apartments pay some level of rent. Many are working and self-pay the full rent-controlled rate. The Homeless and Transitional Housing is helped by the Thrift Store and donations. SVdP and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also help support many of the other households through our rental assistance programs.
“Whatsoever you do for these, the least of my brethren, you do for me.”