Relying heavily on donations and volunteers, St. Vincent de Paul is a charity organization comprising local churches, faith based group and Catholic institutions that serve the working poor. They try to provide basic needs, referrals, and also very limited amounts of financial aid as a last resort to those that qualify.
Programs are available across Philadelphia, including the greater Delaware Valley area as well. After an assessment has been done, the organization offers short-term assistance to provide relief to income-eligible clients in crisis. More details on what may be provided is below. Individuals and families of all backgrounds or religions can receive assistance from the organization, as St. Vincent de Paul of Philadelphia does not discriminate.
Homelessness prevention is a primary focus of the agency, and this may include loans or some temporary financial aid for a rent payment. They also help coordinate shelters and transitional housing programs in the city. However St. Vincent de Paul aims to help clients achieve long-term self-sufficiency and become active participants in their community, as this is important to maintaining housing stability.
The agency urges any families or individuals in need to call to apply for assistance or to get referrals. As part of this process, workers from St. Vincent de Paul or members of a local church visit clients at their homes to assess the situation and determine what form of financial aid or basic support would be most helpful. The application process is extensive and thorough.
At times, they work with other organizations. For example, St. Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities of Philadelphia, another philanthropic organization, often collaborate to make the best use of the limited resources that are available. This helps reduce overlap and addresses other needs.
If they are unable to meet the needs of lower income families, the organization refers them to community, state of Pennsylvania and/or federal government agencies that may be able to help. They also partner with numerous religious organizations, churches and agencies in Philadelphia County that provide counseling and ongoing supportive services.
In many months, dozens of struggling families receive some form of support from St. Vincent de Paul of Phiadelphia throughout the course of the year. Donations from parishioners and others assist the organization in meeting the needs of individuals and families in crisis. These contributions help the group stock a food pantry with groceries and provide meals to the homeless and less fortunate. Not as common is the monetary aid for electricity and paying water bills, fuel oil, gas, kerosene and propane. As noted, the goal is to use funds to prevent homelessness in the city.
St. Vincent de Paul also helps individuals afford the cost of utility bills, onetime rent payments and prescription medications on a short-term basis, and often loans are used for this. In addition, the agency collects funds from the public to provide donations, gifts and supermarket certificates to needy individuals and families.
Contributions from parishioners, local businesses and other community members also allow St. Vincent de Paul to operate seasonal assistance programs. The agency provides food and gifts to needy clients for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Children from low-income families and elderly individuals are the main beneficiaries of these holiday programs. Moreover, donations help the agency offer free back-to-school supplies to students from families who lack the resources to afford such necessities.
Several thrift stores are also operated in Philadelphia County and nearby regions. Anyone can shop at these locations, which feature clothing and furniture, household items, holiday goods, among other goods. The thrift stores specifically cater to a clientele comprising elderly persons living on fixed incomes and low-income families with children who cannot afford to shop at full-priced retail stores.
There are instances in which, as resources allow, clients of the charity can obtain free clothing, food and furniture from the organization. Some of this may be distributed from their thrift stores or a clothing bank. There is a focus on children or victims of disaster when it comes to free items.
The goal of the St. Vincent de Paul volunteers and staff is to help needy individuals and families care for themselves in a way that preserves their dignity. As such, the thrift stores offer affordable, high-quality goods in a clean environment. Volunteers from the stores also visit impoverished families at their homes to provide vouchers for essential daily-living items, and they can use these to pay for appliances, clothing for school or work, and beds and linens.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Philadelphia has many member churches and volunteers. The thrift store is at 901 E Luzerne Street, Philadelphia, PA 19124, and another nearby site is at 3004 Keenwood Road, East Norriton, Pennsylvania 19403.
Like this site?