The charity Society of St. Vincent de Paul agency operates under the philosophy of giving families the ability to make choices, thereby empowering individuals from across Dakota County when they feel that their lives are out of control. Along with this, there may be some short term financial help provided. This is done in partnership with parishes across the region.
When income qualified families are in need of clothing, furniture, food, household appliances, school supplies, and other necessities, they may be given assistance. There may also be financial aid for certain bills along with vouchers to use at the thrift shop. All assistance is given with the objective of preparing clients to return to self-sufficiency.
Short-term food assistance is offered to families who are struggling to make ends meet. The Society of Saint Vincent pantry helps Dakota County residents satisfy their dietary needs while they work toward self-sufficiency. Social workers refer needy families to this program, which typically provides a box of groceries and longer term support such as the following.
-Some clients receive assistance once or twice a month from the free food bank to help alleviate a brief crisis.
-Dakota County St. Vincent de Paul gift cards give clients the flexibility to choose their own food, including dairy, fruits, infants formula, vegetables and dairy items that the non-profit cannot store in its pantry.
The program relies on donations of non-perishable food from stores and individuals as well as grocery gift cards. In addition, the social services from Dakota County St. Vincent help clients practice financial management skills to make the best use of their resources. Non-perishable food and grocery gift cards are delivered to the elderly and homebound as well.
In addition to the food pantry, other items passed out range from Kitchen Essentials to Hygiene items or Furniture. This is met by the Free or Thrift Store.
The selection varies. This Dakota County St. Vincent de Paul program will help families free up their money so they can pay other costs, such as deposits, lease application fees, rent and other immediate bills. The store are run in partnership with parishes across the region.
Providing referrals is one of the main tasks of the case managers or volunteers at St. Vincent. When possible, the information can be provided in other languages as well, such as Spanish. The agency is dedicated to providing information on resources to the working poor and low income.
Residents of Dakota County that are in a crisis can make an appointment. The case managers often have access to databases on other local agencies that can support a family in a time of an emergency. There may be assistance with housing, furniture, clothing, food, utility bills, and rent. Not only that, but many of these partner agencies will also help the client create a long term stabilization plan.
Saint Vincent of Dakota County offers financial help to the elderly too. The non-profit will show low-income seniors they are valued members of the community and to make sure they meet their basic survival needs. Funding is available to help vulnerable individuals with emergency medicine, grants for heating bills and utilities, food, clothing and assistance for eliminating any threat of homelessness.
The Work-n-Wheels Program in Dakota County and the twin cities provides zero-percent-interest loans that enable income-eligible working families to purchase suitable and reliable vehicles. St. Vincent can direct clients to programs for these needs. If qualified, loans must be repaid, normally over the course of a few years. Participants are responsible for paying any tax on the car, title, registration, insurance and license fees.
The Saint Vincent Society of Dakota County Suited to Succeed Program provides men as well as females with professional attire at no charge to wear to job interviews. The non-profit will try to help disadvantaged women obtain and keep jobs, with the aim of finding success in the mainstream workplace.
A key partner of the charity is Dress for Success. This resource does more than provide free clothing to help increase self-confidence. Staff will partner with the applicant to help them make a good impression at an interview, and look professional at work. St. Vincent de Paul also offers job-search assistance at the Dakota County Career Center; support at monthly Professional meetings held in Hastings; and the opportunity to support others as a personal shopper or as a mentor.
The Dakota County St. Vincent charity is involved in helping the youth avoid homelessness. The program was started by the agency as well as partners, such as the Continuum of Care in Dakota County Minnesota, to assist with this challenge that is facing society. Not only will the younger generation be referred to grant programs or low income apartments, but another part of the mission is to advocate on behalf of the youth.
Team members focus on advocacy, education, financial support and community service. The Society coordinates clothing drives for local clothing banks, fundraising events, meal services, and collaborates with other local groups to make a bigger impact. So as anyone can see, advocacy is a key component to what is done here.
For more information on the regional St. Vincent de Paul services, which also support Dakota County, call (612) 722-7882.
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