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.