St. Vincent de Paul Society
Formed in 1979, our chapter of the St. Vincent de Paul Society has been a long-time manifestation of Jesus' command to feed the hungry and care for the homeless. The mission of this organization is to assist the needy in our community by providing food, clothing, school supplies, and financial assistance for families in crisis with their fuel, gas, electric, and rent expenses.
Our Lady of the Chesapeake Parish is extremely proud of the work done by our chapter of the St. Vincent de Paul Society and strongly supports its efforts. In the year 2004, our St. Vincent de Paul Society provided over 450 families with food, clothing, fuel, rent, and utilities assistance.
The St. Vincent de Paul Society of Our Lady of the Chesapeake also supports Our Daily Bread--a soup kitchen in Baltimore City--by providing home-cooked casseroles on the fourth Sunday of each month.
Additionally, the St. Vincent de Paul Society helps support two homes run by Catholic Charities--Sarah's House, a shelter for battered women and children; and The Gallagher House, a home in the Lake Shore area for developmentally challenged adults.
Our chapter supports Our Daily Bread, a program of Catholic Charities, by providing home-cooked casseroles to the homeless and needy on the fourth Sunday of every month. Casserole pans are set out on the third Sunday of the month after mass, and are returned the following Saturday for delivery to Our Daily Bread. The number of casseroles made varies, but we generally provide 50-70 a month, with extra donations of bread and hard-boiled eggs. Four to five parish volunteers serve the casseroles each month and new volunteers are always welcome!
Moreover, on any day of the week, a wagon can be found in the vestibule of the church, ready to accept donations of canned goods and non-perishables. These donations form the basis of a pantry used for emergency food disbursements, seasonal activities, and are also sent to local shelters that provide help for the homeless.
Clothing and Shelter:
Our chapter of the St. Vincent de Paul Society also supports Sarah's House, another program of Catholic Charities, which provides emergency shelter, transitional housing, food, child care, parenting instruction, and substance-abuse counseling. Sarah's House offers families a temporary haven that works to develop behaviors and attitudes necessary for its residents to leave and live as functioning and economically independent family units. As well as donating clothing, linens, and household good, our chapter also gives a Mother's Day party for those at Sarah's House each year.
The Gallagher House, a Catholic Charities-directed home in the Pasadena area for adults with limited life skills, is also supported by our chapter of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Our chapter sponsors two annual celebrations for the residents of The Gallagher House--a picnic at Down's Park and a Halloween Party, complete with costumes, games, and activities.
The St. Vincent de Paul Society of Baltimore also accepts donations of used furniture that can be redistributed to those in need. Please call 410-276-7600 to arrange for pick-up.
Our chapter also aids families in the immediate Pasadena area who are facing rent evictions or having difficulties meeting their utility bills. These families are referred to us through Social Services, NCEON, and other recognized agencies.
The School Year – The chapter adopts families through the Department of Social Services, buying school supplies for needy children in Anne Arundel County at the beginning of the school year.
Thanksgiving – Donations are used to prepare food baskets for the needy, with all the ingredients for a delicious Thanksgiving Dinner. This past year, 55 families were provided with Thanksgiving baskets, delivered by parishioners, members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and their families.
Winter – The chapter collects and purchases knit hats, gloves, underwear, flannel shirts, socks, and toiletry items to be given out to people staying in five area shelters in Anne Arundel County and Baltimore City. Some parishioners make wool hats and lap throws which are given to elderly in need.
Christmas – Our annual Giving Tree provided over 100 children and 55 families (including elderly) with Christmas gifts. Parishioners choose a tag from the Giving Tree, purchase an appropriate gift based on the information provided on the tag, and return the wrapped gift to the Giving Tree. Names for the Giving Tree are provided to us by the Department of Social Services. Approximately 55 food baskets were also given to families for their Christmas Dinner this past year. Additional gifts (e.g., bikes and toys) not from the Giving Tree were distributed to local shelters.
Easter – Celebration of the Lord's Resurrection is shared through a variety of baskets for the needy. Again, with names provided by the Department of Social Services, this past year the chapter provided several fruit baskets for the elderly, 55 traditional Easter baskets for children, and 53 food boxes for families.
New members are welcomed to our chapter of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, but you need not be a member to share your talents and generosity as we work on various projects throughout the year. If you are interested in helping, please call the Pastoral Center (410-255-3677, extension 111). This same phone number may also be used for those who are in need of assistance from our chapter of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.