Many churches and volunteers in New York City work with St. Vincent de Paul Society in an effort to help the low income, poor, seniors, and less fortunate. Those individuals and families who find themselves in difficult situations can contact the Society for referrals, information and maybe even emergency assistance. The staff, called Vincentians, are friends to the poor and advocate on their behalf. While some services are directly available, others may be provided by referrals.
Feeding the hungry and providing food is a core service. This can include home delivered meals for senior citizens, snacks for students during their summer breaks, and formula for newborns. The society also has extensive information on New York City pantries and food distribution centers.
The various food centers both prepare and serve hundreds of clients per month with multiple meals that are nutritious and also high quality. Many of the churches and St. Vincent centers also have soup kitchens on site. Another program in New York City is the special holiday food baskets that are passed out at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many individuals are also regularly able to redeem food vouchers that are given to the hungry by the District’s St Vincent DePaul conferences. The food and groceries passed out are either purchased or donated by businesses, individuals, non-profit organizations, schools, or church groups.
Sometimes a family may need longer term assistance. So in these cases the charity may refer people to New York State and/or federal government assistance programs such as food stamps or Women, Infant, and Children's (WIC). Get help with navigating and applying for these programs.
Volunteers may also be able to deliver meals to the homebound, in particular during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. All of the New York City pantries and churches always need additional resources, so please donate or volunteer if you can. They operate 15 pantries located in 15 different parishes throughout Manhattan and there are more in Brooklyn and other regions of the city.
Individuals and families who find themselves in difficult situations or a crisis will often contact the Society for emergency assistance. The needs of the low income vary from clothing, rental assistance, food and medicine. Many people need transportation to an interview or funds to pay utility bills. When you need help you can contact your local church or conference to arrange for a home visit. Churches are located in the Bronx, Manhattan and other areas. You can also decide to schedule a meeting at a conference to discuss ways in which the Society of St. Vincent may be able to assist you and your family.
Financial assistance is limited. When it is available, priority is for people who have no other options and are faced with an unexpected emergency. Funds are usually for people who will soon be self-sufficient, as St. Vincent de Paul wants to provide a hand up to New York City families and not a charity, hand out.
When available, grants may be used to pay rent or utility bills when facing an eviction or disconnection. A low income senior who is battling the summer heat, or winter cold, may receive energy bill assistance. The same applies to a family with a young child. Funding is for people who are otherwise at risk without help.
Other basic needs can be met by vouchers or access to a thrift store. Dozens of locations operate around New York City, Queens, Manhattan and other boroughs. So families can receive winter coats, shoes for their child and gifts or toys for Christmas. Gently used furniture and beds may also be sold by St. Vincent de Paul. All of this depends on availability.
Other support services from St. Vincent de Paul including burial and funeral assistance for the indigent as well as hospital/home visitations.
As indicated, referrals are readily available. The charity will have available a myriad of referral contacts to multiple non-profit and agencies, including state, city and private groups in the region. The organization may also refer people to other area non-profit agencies that have special expertise under particular circumstances. Social workers from St. Vincent provide information on all the private and government support services available.
While a number of churches and parishes are part of the organization, the main office is at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Central Council, 1011 First Ave. in New York, NY. The phone number to this center is (212) 755-8615.
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