St. Vincent de Paul, 17th Century French Saint.
A Can of Beans
The St. Vincent de Paul Society of Juneau was founded in 1984 by members of St. Paul’s Parish. Founder Paul Paradis and his friends recognized that many in Alaska’s Capital did not enjoy the security of a home or sufficient food for their families. Paul was familiar with the St. Vincent de Paul organization he had known growing up in Quebec.
One evening, Paul and a few of his fellow parishioners met in his garage to discuss how they might be able to help the poor of Juneau, especially hungry families. He walked over to a shelf of canned goods and took down a large can of beans. “Here is the beginning of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Juneau”, he said with a smile. Another of the group placed a five dollar bill on the table, and then others did the same. Over time it became many others, and much more.
Today, the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Juneau provides housing for 125 low-income households, including homeless families with children, the elderly, the disabled and the working poor. We have a Thrift Store that serves the needs of those with low and limited incomes and offers surprising “treasures” to those with a knowing eye. The store supports our family homeless shelter and much of our direct assistance. Our holiday assistance and year-round Aid programs help more than a thousand Juneauites make it through cold winters, tough times and bumps in the road. We put smiles on the faces of hundreds of children who would otherwise know a very bleak Christmas.
None of what the Society does each and every day, is possible without the support of the generous Juneau community. About 90% of all funding is raised at the local level. Whether by marching with us in the annual Walk For The Poor, or shopping at our Thrift Store, or making a direct donation of any size, your compassion and caring makes it possible for us to continue in the tradition of Paul and his friends, and of those young students of long ago.
The St. Vincent de Paul Society of Juneau (SVdP) is a faith-based tax-exempt non-profit organization. All persons, without regard to race, religion, gender, age, familial status or place of origin are welcome as members and as Directors of the council. Officers of the council are practicing lay-Catholics. We are part of the International Society of St. Vincent de Paul, founded in Paris in 1832.