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Tucson area St. Vincent assistance programs.

Several churches across Pima County have partnered together to create the society of Saint Vincent de Paul charity organization. Volunteers from the community help the low income, especially senior citizens and others at risk, such as the disabled. Everything from emergency support to case management is provided.

The availability of resources from Tucson St. Vincent are limited, as the charity relies on donations and the generosity of the community. While in some cases money for expenses such as rent or maybe an energy bill can be paid out, much more likely is the charity offering clients a kind ear or basic needs such as food or access to a thrift store. Some of the other social services available are below.

Gently used goods are sold from thrift stores, and they are available in the Pima County area. The goods from the locations will vary based on season and donations, but families may be able to buy gently used furniture, winter cats, boots for their child, and similar items. Other items from the charity may be a bed, crib for a new born, or bedding. During the holiday season a thrift store can also be a good place to pick up a toy or present for a child or loved one.

In some cases, a local St. Vincent affiliated church will offer free items from a thrift store. This will generally be for people impacted by a disaster, such as a fire or flood, or that have some type of exceptional hardship. Any free goods will be very rare though.

Tucson St. Vincent de Paul has food pantries. The locations can help people, regardless of their age, race, or religion, meet their emergency food, health and nutritional needs. This is another service that depends heavily on the generosity of the community. Based on supplies, the pantries may pass out free or low cost groceries, serve free meals, and boxes of canned goods, and hundreds of people rely on the facility. Special dietary needs may be met whenever possible.

There are donations from stores and restaurants across Pima County, including retailers such as Wal-Mart which may provide a church with surplus items. Many volunteers from St. Vincent will also organize local food drives in their town, and the items (whether money or surplus food) will go directly to keeping the pantry running.




Whenever possible, almost off of the items are provided for free to struggling individuals. Specialty holiday meals or food baskets are passed out too. There will be limits to who often a food bank can be used though, and there is also an application process. So all conditions will need to be satisfied in order to get help.

Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter programs are available as well. Churches and businesses work together on services such as Adopt a Family or serve meals to the homeless and indigent. Some of what may be provided include gifts and toys for children from low income families. Seniors or the home bound, including the disabled, may have a meal brought to them.

Seniors and the sick can receive support. Services range from transportation to a doctor appointment or a drop in at their home for a check up. Or in some cases, volunteers from a church in Tucson can visit someone in a hospital or nursing home, especially around the holidays. Caring for the elderly that are struggling is always a key goal of the charity organization.

Financial, or community assistance, is available in limited situations. This is when the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul will provide qualified low income families with cash grants in a crisis, and the funds can be used for everything from rent to paying for medications or an utility bill. The intent is to address a financial hardship or crisis.

When applying, proof of income and more is needed. If an applicant meets qualifications as set by Society of Saint Vincent in Pima County, then limited amounts of financial assistance will be provided. As noted, the money can be used for bills or certain expenses as authorized by Saint Vincent.

Advice on breaking the cycle of poverty is offered. Staff from the society of a local church use a direct approach to service the needy. In some cases, the charity will actually visit the person's home. During this session, they will provide a caring and listening ear to the client. They will direct the individual as well to the assistance program that can best meet their needs, or help them apply for benefits or some other form of help. Appointments can be made for this service.





How to apply for assistance

Many other services are available too. With the help of people from the community, the Society of Saint Vincent in Tucson routes the needy to resources for their needs. There may be help for people experiencing a disaster or a ride to a job interview and much more. For details, call 520.628.7837 or stop by Tucson Council 829 South 6th Avenue Tucson, Arizona 85701.


By Jon McNamara

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